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377. 389 






Alvin Louis Nebelsick, B.S.; A.M. 

Head of Department of Social Studies 

Township High School and Junior College 
Belleville, Illinois 


/v ^ ' 




This work is affectionately 
dedicated to the Pioneers and 
Progressive Citizens of Our 
City of Belleville, Illinois. 



This volume is largely the result of an inspiration for writing 
acquired as co-author of two magazine articles, one in our state 
professional magazine, "Illinois Education," May, 1937, and 
the other in a national professional magazine, "Social Studies," 
February, 1939. I have discovered that there is an appalling 
lack of information about local communities among the citizens 
as a whole. I believe community interest should always be 
encouraged. Surely we need not be reminded that the very 
foundation of democratic government is to be found in the 
communities and in the ability of the citizens to deal success- 
fully with their local problems. To understand these problems 
is a complicated matter so we must plan intelligently. This I 
believe impossible without a knowledge of our past. 

Our history is so much alive and growing that I find it hard 
to see how anyone can think of it as dead and dry. History 
always looks forward, not backward; it is dynamic, not static. 
Out of the world of yesterday, the world of today has grown; 
out of the world of today, will come the world of tomorrow. 
It is impossible to understand fully the present without a 
knowledge of the conditions which have brought it about; and 
it is equally impossible to make intelligent decisions for the 
future as we have only an uncomprehending view of the age 
in which we live. 

We are not only citizens of the United States, or citizens of 
Illinois, but citizens of Belleville as well.. In the study of 
"Belleville" we have travelled from the larger unit to the 
smaller; from the continent, to the nation, to the state, and 
finally to the city itself. This was not an easy task and required 
steady application and untiring energy. My ambition was to 
give a well rounded picture of Belleville from the earliest 
day of our country to the present. 


I would be ungracious indeed not to acknowledge the very 
great debt I owe to those who encouraged me to write, and to 
those who helped me when writing this book. Grateful ac- 
knowledgment is due to our Public Librarians, Bella Steurnagel 
and Maude Underwood, who were always ready to furnish 
me with the desired books and newspapers and give their 
valuable criticism and suggestions. 

There were others who did not have ready access to the 
reference shelves but were most welcome for their suggestions 
and knowledge of local history as well as the proofreading they 
did. Among these were William U. Halbert, lawyer and his- 
torian; Robert L. Kern, editor and publisher of the News- 
Democrat; Frederick Merrills, lawyer and secretary of the 
high school board of education for the past thirty years; Meta 
Stenger and James Clark, instructors of English; H. A. Kanzler, 
instructor of Latin; L. N. Nick Perrin, Jr., lawyer and former 
city attorney; Hugo Ehret, president of the Oakland Foundry; 
Herman G. Wangelin, our past city postmaster; Oliver Muser 
and Richard Hampleman, grade school teachers; P. K. Johnson, 
St., lawyer and a former mayor of our city, and Herbert W. 
Dey, a former teacher and now a successful attorney in Litch- 
field, Illinois. 

It gives me great pleasure to give public recognition to the 
following students who were ever willing to help me with 
typing and proofreading the manuscripts: 

Norma Alves, Dorothy Ellis, Shirley Falk, Georgia Goepfert, 
Milton Goepfert, William Hassall, Eleanor Hess, Wayne Kissel, 
Joseph Krieg, Doris Malzahn, Robert Meier, Helen Moser, 
Catherine Novoselec, Jeanette and Joanne O'Banion, Alice 
Peters, Doris Schneeberger, Shirly Seiffertt, Lillian Sobcyak, 
Shirley Stock, Walter Thouvenin, Gloria Webster, Rita Zar- 
charski, Alice Kock, Jenrose Raetz, Ruth Newton, Alice Miller, 
Charles T. Meyer, Joseph A. Johnson, and Margaret, Virginia 
and Dolores Hirbe. Let us hope that the good work they did for 
their city will not end but continue on into the future. 




Three Foreign Flags 

Claimed by Spain 1492-1673 1 

Settled by the French 1673-1763 1 

Ruled by the British 1763-1783 4 

Independence Established 

We Became a Part of the U. S. 1783 7 

Our Indian Troubles 8 

St. Clair County Created 1790 10 

Illinois Territory 1809-1818 11 

Illinois Becomes a State 1818 12 


Our City Is Born 

The Independent Pioneer 1 700- 1800 15 

The Birth of Our City 1814 21 

The Pubhc Square 24 

Early Life 

The Log Cabin 28 

Pioneer Dress 29 

Early Social Life 31 

Early Education 1700-1865 34 

Early Doctors 1700-1901 41 

The Pioneer Makes a Living 1814-1850 45 

Village Life 1819-1850 48 


Outstanding American Pioneers 

A Distinguished Citizen 57 

American Pioneers 1818 62 

Noted German Immigrants 75 

The Growth of Our City 

Transportation 87 

Postal Service 100 

City Water 104 

Fire Department 108 

Police Department 111 



Local Institutions 

Public Buildings 1814-1942 
Churches and Affiliated Societies 

St. Peter's Cathedral 1814-1944 

Leading Protestant Churches 1819-1944 

Parochial Schools 1814-1951 

Public Schools 1865-1951 

History of Public Library 1836-1951 

St. Elizabeth's Hospital 1881 


Industry and Labor 

Early Industries 1814-1850 

Later Industries 1850 

Present Industries 1837-1944 
Business Establishments 
The Labor Unions 

A Century of Progress 
Sports 1839-1951 

Culture and Recreation 
Fifty Years of Progress 1850-1900 


In War 

Scott Field 1917-1944 

Our Part in War 1783-1944 

Our Contributions 

Natural Resources 


City Officials 

Noted Visitors 

Noted Places and Events 

Looking Ahead 

What Makes a Good City 
How to Improve our City 










Three Foreign Flags 

Claimed by Spain 1492-1673 


_ HE WRITTEN HISTORY of the American continent dates 
back only four centuries, yet within that comparatively short 
period of time, valuable additions to the world's stock of know- 
ledge have been added. 

In the opinion of archeologists, our area was the location 
of one of the most densely populated Indian setdements in 
North America, one of the largest being Cahokia. It supported 
a greater population than anything Columbus had seen, but 
only the ruins remained when the first white man arrived here. 

Spanish claims to this region were, of course, based on the 
discovery of America by Columbus in the year 1492. The claims 
of the Spanish were further strengthened in 1541 when De Soto 
landed in the Mississippi River area. His indefinite claim 
included Illinois, since it was located in the valley of that river. 


When the white men came to Illinois in 1673, they found 
it to be the domain of the Illinois Indian confederacy of five 
tribes, namely, the Metchigans, Kaskaskians, Peorias, Cahokias, 
and the Tammarois. In our area were the Cahokias. The Tam- 
marois lived a little farther to the southeast. They did not remain 
here, however, for the other Indian tribes made raids against 
them until ultimately, our Illinois Indians were decimated, and 


the fragment of these tribes found refuge for a time in the 
American bottoms. 

The first white men to look upon the territory which now 
includes St. Clair County were two Frenchmen from Canada, 
Marquette and Joliet. Looking for a route to Asia, they went 
down the Mississippi as far as the Arkansas; but when they 
learned that the river flowed into the Gulf of Mexico, they 
went back, and camped for a while in St. Clair County near 
the vicinity of Cahokia. 

The next Frenchman to follow was La Salle. He sailed along 
the Illinois River to its mouth in 1679 and named it after the 
tribe of Indians which he found living along its banks. It is 
derived from the Algonquin Indian word, Illini, signifying 
perfect and accomplished men. The suffix "ois" is purely 
French, and denotes a tribe of superior men. 

The first French settlement was made at Cahokia by Father 
Pinet in the year 1700. Their predominant traits were their 
lack of ambition, their sociability, their devotion to the Catholic 
Church, and their tendency to eat, drink, and be mevTy. Being 
amicable they didn't have much trouble with their neighbors, 
the Cahokias. Their sociability was well shown by the way they 
settled the county. They were never willing to live on separate 
farms, but preferred the village where they were in close 
contact with one another. Their meeting place was usually the 
ballroom where came the priest, the patriarch of the village, 
the jolly benedicts, the talkative patrons, the quick-eyed youths, 
and the radiant maidens. Old and young, rich and poor, came 
together in a common bond of merriment. Sunday morning 
found every good Frenchman in church and the afternoon and 
night in the ballroom. Hospitality and generosity reigned 

A small but hardy breed of horses had been brought by them 
from Canada. These horses had degenerated in size because 
they had not been given proper care. The French worked them 


sometimes singly, sometimes in pairs, and sometimes one hitched 
before the other. Reins were not apphed in driving, but the 
whip of the driver with a handle about two feet long and a 
lash two yards long was used most effectively. No one at this 
time thought of having his horses shod. Oxen, yoked by the 
horns instead of by the neck, were also sometimes used to draw 
a plow or cart. These crude carts were made entirely of wood 
and later Americans called them bare-footed carts because they 
were without iron rims. 

The education of the French was very much neglected. 
Their handwriting was poor and their spelling even worse. 
Most of them couldn't ^vrite at all but signed their names with 
a litde cross. Since they were unmarried, the French govern- 
ment shipped girls to Louisiana to become their wives. These 
were nicknamed "Casket girls" because of the small trunk of 
clothing the government had given to each. 

Kaskaskia was settled in 1701, sixty-three years before St. 
Louis was established. It is one of the oldest and at one time 
was the most important city west of the Alleghanies. It was 
the first capital of Illinois, had the first bell, the first college, 
the first church, the first newspaper, the first Masonic Lodge, 
and the first convent in the state of Illinois. 

The first Court House at Cahokia was erected in 1716; it 
also served as a residence for the man who built it, Francois 
Saucier. It stood at the edge of the parade grounds then used 
by the French soldiers who controlled the territory. It was a 
proud building of square cut walnut logs chinked with mortar 
and small stones, thirty-eight feet wide, forty-four feet long, 
and eighteen feet high, topped with a sharply sloping roof of 
hand-hewn shingles. 

In 1719, one of the creeks of our country received its name 
from the silver ore found there by Phillip Renault. It was 
assayed to yield $7.00 a ton. It was discovered near Lebanon 
on the farm now known as the Jerry Bennett farm. He found 


enough to make a good living, but was later forced to abandon 
it because of hostile Indians. 

The Middle West has been, from its earliest date to the 
present, one of the important areas of the United States. Sixty 
years before George Washington was born, Marquette and 
Joliet were exploring the Father of Waters. The year after Wash- 
ington's birth, the important military post of Fort Chartres 
was established. Fifteen years after his birth, a mill was built 
at Prairie Du Pont. It is too bad these early adventurous souls 
could not fathom the part they were playing in ushering in 
the great surge to the West and the industrial and economic 
changes which were to follow in our later American History. 


At the signing of the Treaty of Paris, ending the Seven Years' 
War in Europe, 1756-63, better known in America as the 
French and Indian Wars, all the territor}^ east of the Mississippi 
River except Florida was ceded by France to England; but 
because of Indians and difficulty of travel, it was not until 
October 10, 1765 that the British formally took possession of 
Illinois. By this treaty, the French surrendered all claims to 
the mainland of America to England. The French in this 
country resented this transfer of rule to England and many 
departed rather than submit to their new masters. With this 
army of refugees went most of the French doctors, leaving a 
free field here for English practitioners. The new doctors found 
the going rough, since they were troubled with the same old 
enemies— malarial fever and battle wounds— that had troubled 
all the early settlers in this region. 

Shortly after the Seven Years' War had ended, England 
issued the famous Proclamation of 1763, a part of which dealt 
with the Indian question. This document provided that the 
land between the Alleghany Mountains and the Mississippi 
River must be reserved for the Indians and that any grant in 


that section which had already been made to the colonists had 
to be revoked. This proclamation was made to satisfy the 
Indians; but many of the colonists, including George Washing- 
ton, were frank enough to say that it was only a temporary 

The difference between the rule of the English and the rule 
of the French, from the Indian's point of view, all appeared 
to be to the discredit of the new regime. The English garrisons 
in the captured French forts were not given to fraternization. 
English traders drove hard bargains, and the English interest 
in settlement rather than trade was all too evident. 

Pontiac, an Ottawa chief with far more organizing ability 
than was common among the Indians, induced the other tribes 
to join him in a conspiracy against the English to drive them 
back east of the mountains. The attack began in May, 1763, 
and the v.'hole frontier region was thrown into a panic. In 
1764, tvvo strong expeditions where sent against Pontiac and 
they easily defeated the Indians. In July, 1766, Pontiac agreed 
with Sir William Johnson to a treaty of peace. 

This, Pontiac's conspiracy, had hardly ended when another 
great Indian war was fought here in 1769. Pontiac, the Ottawa 
chief, had been assassinated by an Illinois Indian who had been 
bribed by an English trader to do the deed, at Cahokia. In 
this war the Illinois tribes were almost annihilated. While this 
was taking place in our county, events of importance occurred 
in other parts of our country. By 1776, Washington had already 
served as a member of the Virginia House of Burgesses and 
had married a \\^dow named Martha Custis. St. Louis was 
setded in Februar)% 1764, and had a population of 600 whites 
and 150 negroes. In the year 1770, Richard McCarty setded 
on the present site of East St. Louis. In 1775, when Washing- 
ton was named Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, 
the British regular troops left this section of Illinois. In 1778, 
Cahokia surrendered to George Rogers Clark. 


Thus we see that all three countries, Spain, France, and 
England had made their contribution to the birth of the state 
of Illinois. They have all had some part in it, though it be 
large or small. The master spirits of this voyage of events were 
Marquette and Joliet, and to them and to their followers belongs 
the credit of having disclosed to the world a discovery which 
is second to none in importance and which had crowned their 
names with immortality. 


Independence Established 

We Become a Part of the United States 


\l2_>/uR WAR FOR INDEPENDENCE began in the spring of 1775. 
In the year 1778, George Rogers Clark, the George Washington 
of the West, with Americans and some French volunteers, was 
sent by Patrick Henry, the governor of Virginia, to capture the 
Illinois country. When he reached Cahokia, some Indians ran 
to the village shouting, "the long knives, the long knives." This 
caused fear among the villagers, but as soon as the French who 
were with Clark explained their purpose, the Indians shouted 
"Huzzahs," for freedom and America. The fort surrendered 
without a shot being fired. 

Partly as a result of this military expedition and partly upon 
the basis of royal charters granted in the seventeenth century, 
the State of Virginia claimed the region in which we now live. 
On December 12, 1778, the legislature of Virginia created the 
Territory of Illinois, and John Todd, an ancestor of Mary 
Todd Lincoln, was appointed Lieutenant Commander thereof 
by Patrick Henry, who was then the governor of that state. 

The Treaty of Paris, 1783, granted us our independence 
from the British and recognized the right of the United States 
to the Northwest Territory. The change of government did 
not seem to disturb the English inhabitants of this territory, 
and for the most part, they remained in that region. 

Due to the jealousies that existed between the small states 


and the large states, over large western land claims, the small 
states insisted that these land claims be surrendered to our 
Federal Government. On September 13, 1783, the Congress 
of the United States passed an act which stipulated the terms 
on which they would accept the cession of this Northwest 
Territor)'. On December 20, 1783, the General Assembly of 
Virginia passed an act to authorize the delegates of this state, 
in Congress assembled, to convey to the United States all the 
rights which the state of Virginia held in the territory northwest 
of the Ohio River. On March 1, 1784, the duly appointed 
delegates of Virginia made their formal deed of cession and 
on that date the United States officially received the North- 
west Territory'. It included the territory bounded by the Ohio 
River, the ^Iississippi River, and the Great Lakes. Today it 
constitutes the states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, 
Michigan, and that portion of Minnesota lying east of the 
Mississippi River. 


By the Proclamation of 1763, the English had forbidden the 
colonists to emigrate into the territon^ west of the line drawn 
along the divide of the Alleghanies. There was no intention 
of keeping the Americans out of this region permanently, but 
the English deemed it unwise to give the Indians further cause 
at that time for discontent by allowing the setders to move in 
upon their hunting grounds. The colonists, however, did not 
take the same view of this matter. Some had already gone into 
the West and hundreds of families, distressed by the high cost 
of living brought on by the war, and eager to start life anew on 
the rich lands of the west, were ready to follow. So, the setders 
pushed out along the mountain trails and as early as 1767, 
permanent settlements began to appear in the Northwest 

At first the Indians in the west were friendly, but by 1786 


they were beginning to change. In fact, from 1791 to 1812, 
our government waged one Indian war after another. 
Many of the disturbances were caused by the English, who, 
contrary to the terms of the treaty ending the Revolutionary 
War, had not evacuated the British forts in this section. Also, 
prosperous frontiersmen, determined to possess the savages' 
land, demanded that the government drive out the Indian. 

In 1783, James Planner)', while out hunting in the American 
Bottom was killed by an Indian. In 1786 Indians, attacking a 
setdement near here, killed James Andrew, his wife, and one 
daughter, while two other men's daughters, one of James White 
and one of Samuel McClure, were taken prisoners. 

Early in 1787, farmers, when working in the fields, were 
obliged to carry their rifles; at night they had to keep guard. 
By the beginning of 1788 the Indian troubles became more 
acute. William Biggs was captured while he, together 
wdth John Vallis, Joseph and Benjamin Ogle were walking 
from Ogle's Station to the block house fort in the American 
Bottom. Vallis was killed, but the two Ogles escaped. 

The year 1789 was one of increasing Indian troubles for our 
community. It was then that three boys were attacked by six 
Indians only a few yards from their block house. One of these, 
David Waddel, having been struck on the head with a to- 
mahawk and having been scalped and left for dead, later 
recovered while the others fled to safety. 

With the coming of 1793 came more contention and alarm, 
but the litde setdements had been strengthened at this time 
by the arrival of some settlers from Kentucky. Among these was 
a family named Whiteside, whose descendants still live here- 
abouts. The Whiteside men and others, totaling fourteen 
persons, made an attack upon an encampment of Indians, far 
outnumbering them, at the foot of the Bluffs. In this skirmish 
Captain William Whiteside was wounded mortally, he thought. 
As he fell, he exhorted his sons to fight on and not to yield an 


inch of ground, nor to let the Indians touch his body. His son, 
Uel Whiteside, with a bullet wound in the arm and unable to 
use his rifle, examined his father's wound and found that the 
ball glancing along the ribs, had lodged against the spine. With 
great presence of mind, so characteristic of our backwoodsmen, 
he whipped out his knife, gashed the skin, extracted the ball 
and holding it up excitedly exclaimed, "Father, you are not 
going to die." The old man instantly jumped to his feet and 
renewed the fight shouting, "Come on boys, I can fight them 
yet." Only one Indian ever returned to tell his people of their 

The Indians, by 1800, were practically forced out of St. 
Clair County, but evidence of their once having lived here 
remained. Many mounds have been left in Illinois by the early 
Indians, who built them as huge earthen tombs for their dead, 
as sites for their buildings, or as ceremonial effigies. The 
Cahokia, or Monks Mound, erected centuries ago by the very 
early Indian mound builders near East St. Louis, is among the 
world's largest earth mounds measuring 1080x710 feet and 
100 feet in height. 


In 1778, Virginia laid out a county in this territor)^ and called 
it Illinois County. When this territory was surrendered by 
Virginia to the United States in 1784, Illinois County was 
forgotten. On October 5, 1787, General Arthur St. Clair from 
Pennsylvania v. as appointed governor of this Northwest Terri- 
tory. In March, 1790, he visited Kaskaskia. On April 27, 1790, 
he issued a proclamation creating the county of St. Clair with 
Cahokia as the site of the County Court. It was to include all 
of the southwestern part of Illinois, and since it was the first 
county created in what is now Illinois, St. Clair County has 
often been called, "The Mother of Counties." The eastern 
and northern part of our state together wdth a part of the 


present state of Indiana were included in Knox County. Illinois 
remained a part of the Northwest Territory from 1787 to 1802 
when our state became part of Indiana Territory and remained 
a part of it until 1809. Other counties were created until in 
1818, when Illinois was admitted to statehood, there were 
fifteen. The number has since increased to 102, all having been 
created before 1860. 

The first settlers to arrive in St. Clair County were not 
foreign born, but they were 154 native Americans who came 
to our county from Virginia in 1797. Among them were a 
physician and several nurses. The journey was difficult and 
hazardous. Shortly after their arrival, a fever epidemic swept 
over the travel-weakened settlers and, when brought under 
control, one half of their number had perished. Lack of suitable 
equipment and housing accomodations added to their discom- 
fort. Even the nurses, fearing the contagion, foresook their 
posts and fled to the more densely populated eastern com- 


Under the Ordinance of 1787, the United States set up a 
government for the Northwest Territory' in 1788 with its capital 
at Marietta, Ohio, and appointed Arthur St. Clair as its first 
governor. In 1800, Congress took steps towards the admission 
of Ohio as a state and the remainder of the Northwest Territory 
was set up as the territory of Indiana with its capital at 

William Henry Harrison was appointed governor of the 
Indiana Territory on January 10, 1801. His home state was 
Indiana, and when he made appointments to office, he pre- 
ferred men from his state. The result was that an anti-Harrison 
party developed in Illinois led by John Edgar, and William and 
Robert Morrison. 

In 1809, the Territory of Illinois was established. Included 


in it were, not only the present state of Illinois, but almost all 
of Wisconsin, a large part of the northern peninsula of Michi- 
gan, and all of Minnesota east of the Mississippi River. Its 
population in 1810 was 12,282, almost all of whom lived in 
southern Illinois. Its capital was Kaskaskia. 


The historv of Illinois moved very fast indeed, for it had 
been only a span of 145 years since the white man first came 
until it was admitted to the Union as the State of Illinois. In 
1673, Marquette explored the Illinois River; La Salle had 
followed him six years later, building Fort Creve Coeur near 
the present site of Peoria. Soon after, Fort St. Louis was erected 
on Starved Rock, and at the turn of the century Cahokia and 
Kaskaskia were settled by the French. In 1763 this area came 
under the authority of the British, but the forces of George 
Rogers Clark during the Revolutionary War took it for the 
United States. It became a part of the Northwest Territory in 
1787, Indiana Territory in 1802, was made the Territory of 
Illinois in 1809, and in 1818 a petition was presented to Con- 
gress from the territorial legislature of Illinois by the territorial 
delegate, Nathaniel Pope, asking for admission as a state. 
Through the efforts of Judge Pope, the act of admission 
permitted the extension of the northern boundar)' to parallel 
42° 30' north latitude instead of the southern bend of Lake 
Michigan. A part of this territory was later taken away from 
us and given to Wisconsin, but through the good work of 
Judge Pope, who handled our bill of admission, Illinois kept 
8,000 square miles, fifty-one additional miles on the northern 
border, so as to give us a port of entry for anti-slaver)^ New 
England, plus a lake front, eight counties, the greater part of 
six others, and the city of Chicago. The act of admission passed 
on April 18, 1818 and on December 3, 1818, Illinois became 
the twenty-first state in the Union. 

Kaskaskia was made the first state capital (1818-20) and 


Shadrach Bond became our first governor. He had long 
been active in public life. In 1806 he was the tax collector 
at Kaskaskia. In 1807, he was the presiding judge of the 
Court of Common Pleas of St. Clair County and in that same 
year was elected the first territorial delegate to Congress. 

When Shadrach Bond became governor, Illinois did not have 
the necessary number of people to become a state, lacking 
19,742 of the 60,000 population stipulated for statehood by the 
Ordinance of 1787, Tw'O years of his term were served at 
Kaskaskia, when it was decided to move the capital to a more 
central location. The state records were put in a two-wheeled cart 
and taken to Vandalia, which became our second state capital. 

Chicago, known as the "Magic City of the West," was laid out 
in 1830, and today has a population of over 3,000,000. How 
it got its name is not known but we are told that in the Indian 
language the word meant "strong." This is the reason some 
people think it came from the wild onion which grew so pro- 
fusely in that neighborhood; others think it was from the skunk 
which was also common; still others say there was an Indian 
chief named Chikagou after whom it was named. At any rate, 
a map published in Quebec at that time gave the city the name 

The length of our state today is 380 miles, its greatest width 
205, and the highest point of land elevation is more than 1,000 
feet. It is most hilly in the south and the northwest. It is filled 
with natural beauty spots, such as canyons, gorgeous palasades, 
caves, Indian mounds, and forests. Our total area is 56,400 
square miles, of which 55,947 are land and 453 water. Our 
population in 1950 was 8,696,490. The density of population 
is 157 inhabitants per square mile. 

Our official state bird is the Cardinal; our flower, the 
violet; our state flag consists of a white field upon which is 
a reproduction of the emblem of the great seal of the state of 
Illinois in black or in our national colors; our motto— "State 


Sovereignty, National Union;" our official song, "Illinois." We 
are nick-named "The Cotton State," "The Garden of the West," 
and "The Prairie State." 

Water from twenty-three states of the Union crosses Illinois 
or flows along its boundaries. The rich soil of the prairies, 
although treeless, is level or slightly rolling but extremely fertile 
and has contributed much to our greatness. 


Our City Is Born 

The Independent Pioneer (1700-1800) 


HE men who wrested this area from the wilderness were 
the greatest of all pioneers. Their sons were among those who 
later pushed still further westward seeking new frontiers to 
conquer in the winning of the West. 

The early pioneers were fortunate to have settled in the 
American Bottom. This stretch of land, which is an expansion 
of the flood plains of the Mississippi River, is located between 
the city of Alton on the north to Prairie Du Pont Creek on the 
south, and from the Mississippi on the west, to the Bluffs on 
the east. It is about 80 miles in length, and 5 miles in width. 
Its soil is the richest to be found anpvhere. It contains approx- 
imately 288,000 acres, of which about two-thirds is located in 
Madison County and one-third in St. Clair County. The soil 
t)^es include loams, clays, and sands; and of these three, the 
loams, considered best from agricultural stand-point, pre- 

Traveling conditions on this land were terrible, especially 
in the early spring. It was a pitiful sight to see a two-wheeled 
French cart deep in the mire, the man going miles away to look 
for help, the women sitting among the household goods, and 
the team of oxen crouching down mournfully in the mud. 

These curious two-wheeled French carts were built entirely 
of wood, having wheels which were rimless, being nothing 


more than huge cross sections of trees. The axles were usually 
six-inch logs which fitted into the holes in the tree sections that 
served as a wheel. The body was a frame resting on the axles, 
while six uprights from this frame created the coach, which 
was simply willow or hazel switches, woven wicker fashion. 
Entire families piled into these carts. To lubricate the axle, 
generous portions of home made soap were used, for no other 
lubrication was available, however this made the wheels turn 
fairly easily. 

The early settler had plenty to wear and to eat, but luxuries 
were unknown. His food consisted chiefly of deer, bear, wild 
duck, turkey, quail, squirrel, corn, beans, and wheat. The 
nourishing food and outdoor life made him healthy, both 
mentally and physically. He produced and manufactured many 
things, and this made him independent of the rest of the world. 

The American Bottom was a paradise for fishermen and 
hunters, because the entire region was filled with lakes, sloughs, 
and ponds. These were well fed by the back waters of the then 
uncontrollable Mississippi River and during periods of high 
water were abundantly restocked with thousands of fish. Legend 
has it that wild swans, ducks, and geese were so numerous 
on these waters that at times their combined quacking kept 
early settlers from sleeping at night. 

One duck hunter is said to have killed twenty-two with one 
shot. It was a simple matter for a good hunter to bag a small 
wagon load in a single morning. 

Because of the early settlers' isolation, they had to make their 
own implements, tan their leather, weave their cloth, hunt game 
for food and sometimes fight for their lives. Most of them were 
poor and lived very simply, but all were equal socially. Their 
homes, clothes and food were nearly all alike, and this greatly 
helped to make them democratic. 

The homes were often located far from the fields. The 
farming implements were usually of the crudest sort. Horse 


collars were made by sewing together plaited corn husks and 
were usually very easy on the horse's neck. Not much can be 
said about the harness, as it was usually crudely made. The plow 
was little more than a stick that scratched the ground. Iron 
plows were yet unknown, and besides, they believed that iron 
was not good to use because it poisoned the soil. The early 
American, though, had ability to get ahead and make money, 
was shrewd, was superior in practical things, had a very even 
temperament, could easily adjust himself to tr)ang conditions, 
and had the ability to pull up stakes and move on if his first 
choice of land proved unsatisfactory. 

The dress of the pioneer was very simple but serviceable. 
He usually wore a leather or buckskin hunting shirt, leggings 
that reached to the waist, shoes that were a compromise be- 
tween brogans and moccasins, and headgear that was a coon 
skin cap in winter and a plaited straw hat in summer. Men 
who dressed in broadcloath and wore boots were viewed as a 
curiosity. In the summer time, they often walked bare-foot to 
the church, but just before reaching the church they would 
put on their shoes. By 1820, the style of dress began to change. 
Factory goods began coming in from the East and gradually 
relegated the spinning wheel and loom to the realm of the 

Women's jobs in the home were plentiful but not easy. They 
had to be talented as nurses, housekeepers, seamstresses, 
laundresses, hostesses, and when any possessed all of these 
abilities, their lives were one great career. 

There were few doctors, and illness was often fatal. Malaria 
and cholera were quite prevalent and took many lives. Wild 
animals were so numerous that they were a menace to domestic 
ones. Indian raids were common and many lost their lives in 
them. Prairie fires caused much damage and suffering. This 
can well be imagined when sometimes sheets of flame, hundreds 
of vards wide and many yards high, would sweep over the 


In 1811, there was the great New Madrid earthquake in the 
Mississippi Valley, so severe, it was said, that the church steeples 
swayed, that the church bells rang with tremendous sounds, 
as though some unseen demon was pulling on the bell cord, 
that catde ran to and fro, filling the air with bawling, that the 
soil cracked so deeply that the bottom of the crevice could not 
be seen, and stone and brick chimneys fell to the ground. 

In 1812, a great tornado struck this region. Families took to 
their cellars, chimneys crumbled, log cabins overturned, and 
fences and strong posts were carried away for miles. Many 
people were killed and wide swaths were cut through forests. 

Then there was the vear of the cold summer when the corn 
crops failed throughout the United States. No record was kept 
of the cold in the Mississippi Valley but in New York City 
on June 7, 1816, there was three-eighths of an inch of ice on the 
ground and the thermometer fell to 30 degrees. 

Partly because of these dangers, the pioneer had a high 
standard of morals. Theft, forgery, perjury, and the like were of 
rare occurance. Drinking liquor was, of course, a phase of 
social life that was carried to excess in some communities. 

The making of the winter supply of candles was a special 
autumnal household duty, and a hard one too, for the kettles 
were heavy to handle. Early morning found the work well under 
way. A good fire was started in the kitchen fireplace under two 
vast kettles, each approximately two feet in diameter. These 
were hung on a trammel from a pole, having been filled with 
boiling water and melted tallow, which had had two scaldings 
and skimmings. At the end of the kitchen or in an adjoining 
room two long poles were laid from chair to chair. Across these 
poles were placed small sticks about sixteen or eighteen inches 
long called candle rods. If the candles were dipped slowly in 
a cool room, a good worker could make on an average of two- 
hundred candles a day. 

The precious candles, thus tediously made, were carefully 


preserved. They were carefully packed in candle boxes with 
compartments, covered over, and set in a dark closet, where they 
wouldn't discolor. A metal candle box hung on the edge of the 
kitchen mantle shelf always containing two or three extra 
candles to replenish those which had burned out in the candle 

The American pioneer was perhaps not quite as religious as 
was the French. His religious meetings were less frequent and 
more irregular. The older people usually stayed at home on 
Sunday and read their Bibles. Others would hunt, fish, break 
horses, practice target shooting, or indulge in foot races. They 
refrained from all ordinary work except such as was absolutely 

A book entitled, A Pretty Little Pockethook, printed in the 
United States shortly after the American Revolution, served 
as a guide for childhood etiquette in many parts of our country. 
It contained the following reminders: 1. Never seat yourself 
at the table until the blessings have been asked. 2. Never ask 
for anything not on the table. 3. Never speak unless spoken to. 
4. Always break the bread. 5. Never take butter except with 
a clean knife. 6. Never throw bones under the table. 

The American pioneer, however, was always very friendly, 
sociable, and ready to welcome a newcomer. When a log cabin 
was to be built, the neighbors would come to help. Whenever 
they made social calls, entertainment was in the direct primitive 
style. The boys would vie with each other in jumping, wrestling, 
running foot-races, playing leap frog, and shooting. The older 
men would gather around and listen to some wild adventure 
story of one of their neighbor's experiences to and from New 
Orleans. Log rolling, quilting bees, and apple cutting bees called 
together the men and women, while the youngsters met for corn 
husking. Provisions for eating and drinking were liberally made, 
especially the johnny-cake, spread and baked on boards before 
an open fire. 

After the meal, the younger people would turn their attention 


to dancing. The table, chairs, dishes, and all things movable 
were placed out of the way and the puncheon floor was cleared 
for the dance. The indispensable fiddler was the artist of the 
occasion, and everything had to be done as it was back in North 
Carolina, or Virginia, or some other eastern state in which they 
had grown up. The pioneer jigged, and danced three or four 
hand-reels, all of which were very lively dances. The most 
popular was the Virginia Reel. In the early morning all went 
home, either on foot or horseback. 

Corn shucking was one of the most popular forms of 
amusement for younger folks. When the farmer's com was 
ready to be shucked, instead of shucking it in the field as it is 
done now, the stalks were cut and piled beside the crib. Then 
all the young men and women were invited and the fun began. 
Two leaders were chosen who would select sides and at a given 
signal, the shucking started fiercely. When anyone found a 
red ear, all shucking ceased for a time until the finder had 
kissed the girl of his choice on the opposing side. 

Another popular sport of the pioneer was the shooting match 
in which the pioneers would bring their trusty old rifles and 
spend the day testing their skill. The contestant always shot for 
a prize, which was often a nice beef steer. Those that were not 
contestants, came to sit around and talk. Old women came to 
watch— they usually brought their knitting with them. Often 
after the match, they would get a fiddler and have a dance. 
The fiddler was in such great demand in those days, that some- 
times the pioneer would send as far as thirty miles for one. 

The early American also played cards, especially "Loo"— 
requisite to gentility— and spent much time at horse races and 
often squandered considerable money and property betting on 
them. In 1806 there was a horse race on the ice of the Missis- 
sippi River between contestants from Missouri and Illinois. 

Some of the early settlers seemed to lack moral virtues. One 
husband sold his wife for a botde of whiskey; the purchaser, 


in turn, traded her for a horse, after which she was traded 
again for a yoke of oxen. 

At this time, 1799, several incidents happened in Washington 
which were felt in our immediate vicinity. One of the members 
of the House of Representatives from the state of Vermont was 
a witty, red-faced and rabid Republican and Irishman named 
Matthew Lyons. He and Griswold, a Federalist who was also 
a member of the House, had a rough and tumble fight on the 
floor of the House. Lyons, fearless and unafraid to say or publish 
anything, had criticized in a Vermont newspaper, some laws 
passed by the federalist government. For this and for the fight, 
he was arrested, fined one thousand dollars, and sent to 
prison for four months. Forty years later, after his death, 
in 1839, the government returned the fine with interest 
to his descendants, in the form of western lands. John Mes- 
senger, one of the descendants, was given a 160 acre farm on 
the old Collinsville road, which today is owned by a man named 
George Hoffmann, a lineal descendant of Matthew Lyons and 
John Messenger. 


Who the first white man was to set foot on the present 
site of Belleville remains a question. It is believed by some that 
French traders and trappers had passed through the woods 
and prairie that now are occupied by our city. 

It is known that in 1794 Reverend James Lemen, Sr., of 
New Design, in Monroe County, and six other men of his 
settlement camped here for a week. The camp was under a 
large pecan tree on the spot where the old Presbyterian Church 
once stood. They were on a hunting expedition as well as 
looking for better lands to settle. At hunting they were good, 
for they killed a bear, several deer, and many turkeys. 

Settlements were made in the vicinity of Belleville, and 
among the first settlers were John Teter, Abraham Eyman, 
William Mueller, John Primm, Martin Randleman, and Daniel 


Stookey. Roving bands of Kickapoo and Pottawatomie Indians 
were often seen by these early settlers and many of them later 
fought against them. 

The original proprietor of the town of Belleville was the 
pioneer citizen, George Blair, whose home, erected in 1806, 
was the first to be built in this city. For several years he kept 
it as a home and a hotel. As a man he seemed to have no 
extraordinary talents, but he was prominent because he owned 
a two-hunderd acre farm on which the central part of our city 
now stands. Me didn't like to work on the farm and therefore 
cultivated only a small part of it. He was not well educated, 
but he loved to use words of great length even though they were 
not suited to the meaning he wished to convey. He was good 
natured and possessed a benevolent spirit. 

Contrary to most opinions, Belleville was not founded by the 
French nor the Germans but was settled by the Americans to 
protect themselves against the French. Studying the map, it 
will be seen that our city is ideally located, being about half- 
way between the two oceans and evenly divided between the 
North and the South. This places us far enough south to escape 
the severe northern winters, while our four seasons offer us 
a variety of climate. The Mississippi and its tributaries tie us 
closely to the South and West, and the Illinois and Lake 
Michigan tie us equally close to the North and East. Our 
location is in the heart of the Mississippi Valley, one of the 
nation's richest industrial, commercial, and agricultural districts. 
This valley produces seventy percent of the agricultural pro- 
ducts, seventy percent of the petroleum, seventy-five percent of 
the lumber, and sixty percent of the minerals of the United 

The greater part of our city is located in Section 21, Town- 
ship 1, north of Range 8, West. It is situated on a gende rising 
plain near the center of St. Clair County. The beauty of the 
surrounding country is not surpassed by any place in southern 
Illinois. It is not only equal to but even surpasses many of the 


most fertile and productive agricultural regions of our country. 
In distance, it is about midway between the Mississippi and 
Kaskaskia Rivers. 

Although our city had not yet been officially designated as 
the County Seat, there was nevertheless a strong desire on the 
part of the early settlers for a more central location for their 
county government. The county seat had been at Cahokia 
since 1790, but this village being French, the Americans were 
anxious to get rid of the unprogressive ways of these earlier 

The Americans on the high lands east of the American 
Bottoms outnumbered the old French setders along the Missis- 
sippi River. This almost necessitated a more central location of 
the county seat than was the village of Cahokia. This question 
was one of the issues in the election of members for the state 
legislature in 1813, which was then meeting in Kaskaskia. In 
December, 1813, the legislature appointed the following com- 
mittee to select a new seat of justice for our county, 1. John 
Hay, 2. James Lemen, 3. Issac Enochs, 4. William Scott, Jr., 
5. Nathan Chambers, 6. Jacob Short, 7. Caldwell Cains. These 
men met at the home of George Blair on March 12, 1814, and 
the majority of them voted to build the county seat on Blair's 
land. Blair, in return agreed to give them one acre of land for 
a Public Square. 

Up to this time our locality had been known as Compton 
Hill, but when George Blair decided that he wanted a city on 
his farm, he said that he had found a place where he was going 
to form a settlement which might become one of the most 
beautiful cities of America, and therefore he named it Belleville, 
from the French word, meaning "Beautiful City." He appointed 
a surveyor, John Messenger, to lay out the city in the summer 
of 1814. This survey was completed a few years later by 
Governor Ninian Edwards and officially placed on record in 
our County Court. In the spring of 1819 the state granted 
us a village charter. 


The Streets were named by Mr. Blair. The most eastward 
street was called Church Street, while w^est of that were 
Jackson, High, Illinois, Spring, and Hill. North and south of 
the Square, the streets were numbered First, Second, Third, etc. 
The street extending east and west through the Square was 
called St. Clair Avenue, but by common usage, it has become 
Main Street today. Main and Illinois were laid off 66 feet wide 
and all others 49Vi. 

When the city was built, in places part of the earth was cut 
away, while in others it was filled in. To the south of East 
Main, between High and Jackson, was a pond of water that 
extended well into High Street. After rains it was often 80 
yards long and 40 yards wide. No trace of it is left today because 
it has been filled in. 

In 1814, the Court House was removed from Cahokia to 
Belleville where it has since remained. In 1793, Saucier's home 
had been bought by the territorial government for use as a 
court house of St. Clair county which, at that time, included 
all of North and Central Illinois. 

In September, 1815, the contract for the construction of a 
new court house was given to Etienne Pensoneau. It was com- 
pleted and accepted by the county on September 10, 1817. 
The population of our county was then 3,000, while our little 
village had onlv about 150. We remained a village until 1850 
w^hen the state granted us a cit)' charter. 


When our city was created the Public Square was made 
a part of it. It is over one acre in size and had been given to 
the County for its use and benefit. On it later were built the 
County Court House, the County jail, and the market house. 
It soon became the civic and commercial center of our city 
and became so important that all the early history of Belleville 
revolved around it. 


The first use that was made of our Pubhc Square seems to 
be that it was an inclosure for stray cattle. It was on March 
8, 1820, that the village commissioners, Ed. P. Wilkinson and 
Cornelius Gooding, issued the following official order: "On 
petition of sundry inhabitants praying that the Public Square in 
the town of Belleville be inclosed, securing thereby citizens 
during court from disorderly persons on horseback, and the 
public buildings from damage, and the trustees of the town 
of Belleville be authorized to inclose the same, letting streets run 
around it instead of through it, and that this court allow a 
reasonable sum for defraying the same." The petition was 
granted, and the court ordered that the sum of $100 be 
authorized to defray expenses. The inclosure was to serve as 
a stray pound, to be inclosed with posts and rails, neatly finished, 
and ordered that the clerk certify the same to the trustees of the 
town of Belleville. It was in this inclosure where was located 
our first Court House and Market House. It was here that 
the housewives of the past haggled while at the market, and, 
before the days of the state penitentiary and county jails, punish- 
ment for crimes was here meted out. Here, w^e had our pillory 
and whipping posts. 

In April, 1822, William D. Noble was punished for forgery 
by being put in the pillory. He was exposed to the public here 
for one hour and was required to pay a fine of $1,000 to the 
state and $1,000 to the man whom he tried to defraud. John 
Re\Tiolds was the judge in the case, William A. Beard, the 
lawyer, and John Hay, the clerk. 

Two walnut trees in the Public Square saved our County 
the expense of erecting a special whipping post. In the early 
davs there were no jails, and the whipping post was the only 
means of punishing a person for a minor offense. The guilty 
one was first stripped to the waist, then tied to the tree, where- 
upon the sheriff would inflict the legal number of stripes, 
making blood spurt at every lick. The usual penalty was from 
five to forty lashes. 


One criminal named Bonham, a cripple, was found guilty 
of stealing a black silk handkerchief and was given five lashes 
for this offense. In 1833, Sheriff John D. Hughes was the last 
to use the whipping post, for the state legislature repealed the 
whipping post and pillory statutes largely at the suggestion of 
Ex-Sheriff Hughes, who in 1836 had become a member of that 
body. The walnut tree and the pillory, though, remained for 
many years, and the latter became a respectable hitching post 
for the farmers' horses. 

Our Public Square changed in appearance with the growth 
of our city. On it have gathered the successive generations of 
our city. In July, 1852, the city council, under the guidance 
of Mayor Goedeking, adopted a resolution that was to make 
the Public Square more than a bull pen and offered the 
following changes: "In the center shall be an inclosure of 119 
by 90 feet laid out in grass plots and planted with evergreens 
and shrubbery and surrounded by a pavement 14 feet wide. 
The macadamized section of the square will still remain 56 feet 
wide in the narrowest parts; at the comers it will be 100 feet 
wide. The center place will be surrounded with shade trees so 
that we shall have a shady and airy park." 

On May 16, 1865, our City Council decided to change the 
appearance of our Public Square once more. One group of 
council members was known as the "tear-downers," because they 
wished to remove the sturdy fence around it, cut down the 
fifty shade trees, and destroy the beautiful park in the center. 
Mayor Herman Burkhardt, who opposed this plan, had only 
three aldermen to support him while five opposed him. To 
them, it seemed as if the majority of the City Council were bent 
on committing an act of barbarism, one which in future years 
would cause the cheeks of the guilty one to tingle with shame. 
However, the dastardly deed was done, and the mayor and his 
three supporters resigned saying that it was impossible to give 
sanction to such acts of vandalism. 

The setback which our Square had suffered early in 1865 


was only temporary, for the city soon restored it to its former 
beauty. Once more it was adorned with trees, and in that way 
it remained for many years. 

It was on June 6, 1903, that we had one of the greatest 
excitements in the history of our city. David Wyatt, a Negro 
school teacher of nearby Brooklyn, Illinois, shot Charles Hertel, 
County Superintendent of Schools, because he would not renew 
his teachers' certificate. Wyatt was arrested and taken to jail, 
but the aroused citizenry feared that a just and speedy sentence 
would not be passed upon him, so they stormed the jail, took 
the Negro from his cell, and lynched him on the Public Square. 
The County Superintendent had not been wounded fatally 
and soon recovered. 

There have been many and varied surfaces that have covered 
our Public Square. As a part of the old St. Clair turnpike, the 
roadways were planked. Later the entire square was covered 
with cedar block pavement, which bulged when the heavy rains 
came and again went in place when they were dry. On July 
16, 1904, it was completely paved with brick. It was then that 
it took on the appearance that seems to be more familiar with 
our present generation. All the street car lines terminated here, 
and the bulky, brightly painted trolley cars stopped for their 
passengers in what had been a parking space. Today it serves 
the same purpose for our city and St. Louis bus lines. 

The Public Square today is highlighted by the Veterans' 
Memorial Fountain and is, indeed, a far cry from the old cattle 
pound. The fountain in all its beauty does honor not only to the 
departed veterans but also to those who in the past have built 
the present city around it. It is today a nucleus of our commercial 
development. In this area are located the four banks of our city, 
the department stores, the large grocery stores, hotels, city and 
county government buildings, wholesale houses, and, near the 
outer margin, eleven manufacturing plants. 


Early Life 

The Log Cabin 


_ 'HE FIRST TYPE OF LOG CABIN built in St. Clair County was 
the French or Pahsade type. In this the logs were placed 
vertically and set in the ground with the cracks filled with 
sticks and clay. 

The next type was the English or the horizontal log type. 
The pioneer chose the log house because it was the cheapest 
for him to build, for there was an abundance of timber. Uniform 
logs were cut the proper length and hewn down on opposite 
sides to a thickness of about nine inches. Then the neighbors 
were called in for house raising. The best axemen were stationed 
at the corners, as notching or dovetailing was the more technical 
operation. The comer men built up the walls by fitting the 
ends of the log into the notches. By thus saddling the logs, the 
walls were raised to a height of about seven feet. The chinks 
left between the logs were filled with sticks and daubed with 
clay, which had to be renewed every year. After the house 
was up and roofed, an opening was cut for a door, usually on 
each side to afford air in hot weather— or if a window instead— 
it) was covered with oiled paper. The door was made of spliced 
clapboards, hung on wooden hinges. The latch, also wood, 
manipulated by a strap attached, was hanging outside through 
a hole, and was pulled in to lock the door. The chimney was 
built of stone laid flat and heavily coated with clay. The floor 
was made by laying sleepers on the ground to be covered with 
planks when obtainable. When not obtainable, puncheons— 


that is, one length of logs split in half, laid flat side up, were 
used. No nails or other metals were used, wooden pegs being 
employed where necessary. Usually a ladder led to the loft 
which was used mostly for storage space. The inside of the 
house was as simple and primitive as was the outside. A huge 
fireplace furnished heat and means of cooking. To keep the 
house fairly warm, the ceiling was insulated with wolves' skins 
or other pelts or with the soft bark of bass wood. Light passed 
through greased paper windows. The furniture was always 
handmade. The axe and the auger were the best tools. The 
table was nothing more than a puncheon with four legs inserted 
in auger holes. Chairs were usually mere stools with three legs. 
The bed was built in the comer with three of its comers fastened 
to the wall and the fourth to a peg in the ground. Some who 
were more mechanically inclined fixed the bed so it could 
be drawn up and fastened to the wall in the daytime, thus 
giving more room in the cabin. The eating utensils were mostly 
of pewter and wood. While some early settlers had knives and 
forks, most others did not. The pack knife or butcher knife 
served all purposes at the table when no others were to be had. 
With dippers made of gourds and buckets of hard-shelled 
squashes, preparing a meal was a difficult task and required 
many hours of hard labor. 

Besides growing his own food, the pioneer also made his 
own clothing and tools. Every home had its own spinning 
wheel, for it was necessar)^ to spin the wool that went into the 
making of socks, stockings, mittens, shawls, mufflers, and 
wristlets. Their homes were poorly equipped in that day, for 
there was no running water, no gas, no electricity, no refrigera- 
tion, and the old back-yard well was about the only means 
available for keeping foods cool, and preventing their spoiling. 


Measured by styles of today, the dress of the early French 
and English pioneer was very queer indeed. In the summer 


the men wore coarse blue suits, changing these in the winter 
for clothing made mostly of buckskin. The women wore neat 
fine linsey-woolsey dresses, made at home and colored to suit 
the fancy with homemade dyes which were made by boiling 
alum, copperas, and madder, with the bark of trees. Calico or 
gayly checked goods were used in making bonnets. They had 
little or no jewelry; even a ring was a rarity. Their feet were 
shod in a sort of deerskin mocasin, while the men wore a 
coarser and a much stronger shoe made of thick leather. French 
women have always had a great love for things that are pleasing 
and beautiful, and even at this early day they followed the 
fashions of Paris and New Orleans. Blue seemed to be the 
predominant and favorite color of both of the sexes and they 
used it not only for their clothes, but wore blue handkerchiefs 
on their heads in winter time as well, preferring this instead 
of a hat, or a cap. Instead of a coat they preferred a sort of 
capote, which was nothing more than a blanket. 

The dress of the early American was, of course, simple. If 
a hat was worn at all, it was usually made of homemade 
material. Shoes were merely moccasins or tanned leather shoe- 
packs. In the summer, many of these things were unnecessary 
and at that time of the year, they often went bare-foot, and the 
men wore a blue lined hunting shirt. The capote was made loose 
permitting freedom of action, with a cap or a cape to turn over 
the head. Usually underneath this garment a vest of striped 
linsey-woolsey was worn. The later settlers usually wore home- 
made shirts of flax or cotton, although a few wore calico and 
checked shirts. Their pantaloons were made of deerskin, linsey- 
woolsey, and sometimes coarse blue cloth. 

The dresses in that day were made fuller and longer than 
they are today, usually needing about eight yards of material. 
These dresses were plain, with four widths in the skirt— the two 
front widths gored, and the waist very short, with a draw string 
behind and across the shoulders. The sleeves were enormous 
in size and padded like a bolster above, but tapering to the 


wrist. These were called "mutton-leg" or "sheep-shank" sleeves. 
They were kept in shape by means of heavy starched linings 
or feathers. 


There were few people in the world that were easier to 
approach and become acquainted with than the early American 
people. Strangers, if they conducted themselves well, were 
received most cordially in the best of circles, and the confidence 
that was placed in them, upon even short acquaintance, was 
remarkable. Probably this was due to the fact that there was 
such a similarity of ideas on general subjects. Perhaps it was 
democracy at work. In the social life of early days, dancing 
v/as the favorite pastime, with the waltz, the aristocrat of all 
of the dances, leading. Gallant men bowed low before their 
Lady Fairs, their way of asking them for the next dance. 

Women in the 19th century possessed unsurpassing graces, 
perhaps more than are found in the young ladies of today. 
They were taught to be modest and their mode of dress sug- 
gested that they were so to the Nth degree Their finery of dress 
and delicacy of manner inspired robust men of that day with 
an over-whelming desire to protect them from the harsh world. 
They seemed like delicate flowers, and there was a dash of 
chivalry as the beau of that day stopped to kiss his sweetheart's 
hand and ask that he might be her stalwart protector forever. 

With music as the chief source of entertainment, it was only 
natural that concerts and operas had a more or less universal 
appeal. On these occasions women appeared in formal attire, 
always wearing wraps called opera cloaks. 

Then there was the Home Circle and the Pecan Club, 
composed for the most part of the same young men who attended 
the operas. These clubs were of a social nature, and for the 
men only, but in their more formal gatherings, they also included 


the fair sex. The registers of these groups included such men 
as Fred Daab, Louis and Dave Rentchler, Charles Eimer, 
George AIcRogers, Charles and Hugh Harrison, and James 
A. \Villou<?hbv. Socially prominent in these were such young 
women as Emma Camfield, Lena Abend, Anna Rentchler, and 
Fannv Knab. On one occasion the Home Circle entertained 
its members and friends at an elaborate masquerade ball in the 
Liederkranz Hall. Erected in the middle of the dance floor was 
a fountain, the sprays of which poured out Hoyt's German 
Cologne. As the dancers glided past the fountain they flicked 
out their handkerchiefs into the spray so that they might carry 
home the fragrance that permeated the air that night. 

For the older generation of today there will never again be 
times like that. Even in card playing and dancing the good old 
days are gone. Around the turn of the centun.', euchre, whist, 
pinochle, and bridge were inaugurated and the younger genera- 
tion spent manv pleasant hours with this new pastime. The 
old dances, the schottische, lancers, cotillion, and quadrille have 
now been replaced by the tango, fox-trot, Charleston, rumba, 
and conga. 

The automobile has taken the place of the horse and buggy, 
the streamlined motor-driven train has replaced the coal-heating 
iron horse, all maniacs for speed today. The older folks look 
askance at the hectic scramblings of the present day generation 
in their mad search for excitement and pleasure. They seem 
to think that we have too manv automobiles going in too many 
directions to too many places in too great a burr)'. 

In the bv-gone days, the youngsters never lacked fatherly 
advice. Regular lovelorn colunms were not unknown in the 
newspapers of that day, and on November 11, 1864, Joseph 
Billings wrote the following in one of the local newspapers: 

"Dear Girls: A blessed future awaits you. Take lessons on 
the piano at once as the pianos are getting scarce. By all means 


learn to play the new songs just out. When John Brown is 
over it will be Father Abraham's coming. This stanza took 
first prize at the State Fair. Don't be afraid to get married; your 
Ma wasn't afraid. Learn how to knit puddin bags to put your 
hair in. Be virtuous and pretty. Eat slate pencils as they will 
make you spry at figures. Drink cologne water as it will make 
a good smell. Let your petticoat drag on the sidewalk, and if 
any man steps on it and tears off the rim, slap his chops at once. 
If you have small feet, keep them hid as small feet are out of 
style. Study travels such as Tom Moore's are considered first 
rate. If you can spare the time, be lively and smart. Remember 
one thing— there isn't anything in this life worth living for 
but a rich husband; if you don't believe me, ask your Ma. 
If you have red hair, you had better exchange it for black, as 
black hair, they tell me, will be worn much next year. Don't 
have anything to do with the boys unless they mean business. 
If you don't know how to dance, you might just as well join 
a traveling nunnery at once for you are played out." 

Then, as now, the wedding was the most exciting event of 
all. Guests came on foot, on horseback, and in wagons, to the 
home of the bride. The wedding dinner was a veritable feast 
for it contained four kinds of meat; namely: bear, venison, 
wild turkey, and wild duck. Eggs were both wild and tame 
while sugar was of the maple variety and in lump form. The 
lumps were tied on a string which the user would have to bite 
off for his coffee or whiskey. The syrup was passed in big 
gourds and was of two varieties, peach and honey. After the 
wedding dinner the people would dance until morning, the 
music being furnished by the violin and guitar. 

Shortly after the wedding, the men of the neigborhood came 
together to build the log cabin for the newlyweds. Sometimes 
this was completed in a single day, but could not be occupied 
by them until after a house warming at which all the young 
people met, making merry again until the early hours of 


EARLY EDUCATION (1700-1865) 

Life being very simple, the settlers didn't feel the need of 
education. So few were educated then that in 1790, when 
General St. Clair came to this territory to organize a government, 
he had difficulty in finding men with enough education to hold 
such offices as Justice of the Peace, Constable, Clerk, or Sheriff. 

Later, after the population had increased, the demand for 
education also increased. The first teacher of the children of 
the pioneer was the mother. She had perhaps been the best 
of all— for she was the trail blazer of the finest educational 
system of the world. For the girls, she still remained the most 
important teacher because sewing was a very essential part of 
their education. Ready-to-wear estblishments were unknown 
and dresses, therefore, were not turned out as readily as they 
are now. Sewing a dress was so complicated that the midnight 
oil was burned many a night before the dress was finally 

For the boys, however, the school master now became the new 
teacher. Teaching methods in the early schools varied greatly 
from those of today. Though the old methods are interesting 
to read about, it is very doubtful if they were ever much of a 

The first schools in our County were not the now familiar 
public schools but were called subscription schools. The school 
houses were rude one story structures, a one-roomed building 
with a clapboard roof and puncheon floor. Windows were 
made of greased paper and admitted the only light. A large 
fireplace extended across the entire rear end of the room, 
and on cold days a roaring fire of logs piled high sent 
out heat to warm the legs of the schoolmaster, who usually 
managed to have his seat in the warm corner of the room. 
The desks that we have today were as yet unknown, but those 
used then were slabs fastened up under the sides of the house 
by pegs driven into the logs and these answered as writing 


and ciphering tables, while puncheon boards served as seats. 
There were no fine maps hanging from the walls, nor a globe 
in one comer, nor a Webster Dictionary in another. The large 

11111 1 

blackboards were as yet unknown, nor were they needed in 
that day as all writing was done with goose quills. In those 
days when schools were private institutions, good manners were 
considered as important as reading, 'ritin', and 'rithmetic. The 
boy, when entering the building, would make a bow first to the 
teacher and then to the rest of the school. A gentle and 
affectionate curtsy was expected from the girls when they 
entered. These things were considered verv essential for the 
making of a polished lady or gentleman and anyone proficient 
in these was considered well educated. 

Studying in these schools was done differently than it is 
today. Schools then were called loud schools because students 
studied out loud. It was by no means rare to hear one pupil 
scanning his spelling lesson, another one his reading, a third 
singing out the multiplication tables, and a fourth, perhaps, 
memorizing a poem. Ever}^ student was told to study aloud 
and if his lips were not moving he was punished by the teacher. 

Pupils today like to create a sort of sensation by bringing a 
dog to school and letting it loose in the class room. In the early 
days, though, students were disturbed by other animals. Some- 
times the log cabin school was built on a stone foundation and 
sometimes on pegs. In either case, the floor was always a foot 
or two off the ground so that it would keep dr\\ When a stone 
foundation was used, there were always openings for ventilation. 
Hogs would sometimes wander under the buildings and their 
quarreling and squealing and their occasional raising of a 
portion of the floor would disturb the quiet of the room and 
the peace of the teacher. 

Corporal punishment of students was practiced to a greater 
extent in pioneer days than it is now and was more common 
in the north than in the south because in the south only slaves 


were whipped, while in the north they had no slaves and 
therefore the children seemed to be the ones to whip. Then 
too, it seemed as if it were necessary that learnin' and lickin' 
should go together. Other less severe penalties were such as 
kneeling on peas and wearing the dunce's cap. The teacher's 
success was often measured by the number of whippings he 
gave during the year because it was firmly believed that to spare 
the rod would certainly spoil the child. The story is told that 
one of the early teachers named Mr. Daily would occasionally 
get drunk during the school day and when he did he would 
vary the schedule for the day by whipping the whole school 
so that his reputation as a teacher might be enhanced. Needless 
to say, in his case the drinking caused him to fail as a teacher, 
even though it bettered his whipping record. 

The courses of study for the first three years were devoted 
entirely to reading and spelling, and if a child could read and 
spell an easy lesson without stammering at the end of the third 
year, the teacher was regarded as quite a success. In the fifth 
year, the children were taught to write. Teaching was simple 
then. The teacher would simply write the entire alphabet on 
the student's slate and sometimes his handwriting wasn't much 
better than the student's. This was then copied and recopied 
by the student until he had attained some dignity of perfection, 
then began the old copybook writing. This was done with 
pen and ink on lines that were ruled by the teacher with a 
lead bullet that had been beaten flat. 

In the fifth year of school the child began singing the 
multiplication tables in their order and sang them until he 
knew them by heart. Subtraction was more difficult, however, 
and sometimes just had to be beaten into the student. History 
and geography were subjects added to the curriculum in 1850. 

The pens used by the students were quite different from 
those of today. The making and selling of the pen and ink was a 
financial sideline for the teacher as he always furnished this. 
The pens were made out of quills of turkey and geese and 


the clipping of the quills took much of the teacher's time. 
With use and often with the pupil's disposition, they soon began 
to scratch. The inkstand was made of horn and firmly attached 
with a steel point to the desk so that the student could not 
easily spill it. 

At this early day schools were still too small and financially 
unable to employ janitor service, so the older pupils usually 
swept and dusted the school room and its furniture. When 
the fuel ran short— coal was not yet used— the older boys were 
sent into the woods to cut enough stove wood to last for several 

One of the early teachers in St. Clair County was John 
Messenger, who had been educated in the east, and who 
taught school at New Design in Monroe County, four miles 
south of Waterloo and no longer in existence, and Clinton 
Hill just north of our city. Others were Col. W. Case, and an 
Englishman named Baker. WiUiam McClintock taught school 
near Belleville for only one term. The reason for the only one 
term was that the boys became too boisterous, and locked him 
out for refusing the usual treat of a gallon of whiskey, candy, 
and nuts at Christmas time. Being rather Scotch, he quit in 
righteous disgust over this incident. Another early teacher was 
a Mr. Brigham who was succeeded by a Yankee schoolmaster 
named William Gallup. Gallup kept a very successful school 
and often had enrolled from 80 to 100 pupils. His method 
of rewards and punishment were a little more peculiar than the 
rest. For the good little boys and girls he had a tin pail filled 
with brown sugar from which the studious and well behaved 
students, mostly girls, seated in a row, were fed from a wooden 
ladle. For the rowdy ones he had the dunce's block which was 
rounded on the bottom on which the unruly student had to 
balance himself and as soon as he neglected to do so, would 
fall sprawling and helpless to the merriment of the whole school. 

For those that persisted in whispering, he had a split piece 


of hickory sapling, shaped much hke a clothes pin, into which 
their tongues were put. Then with their hands tied to their 
backs, the guilty ones had to stand in front of the class. When 
the boys were stubborn and hard to manage they were made to 
sit between two girls. This was usually a sure cure for the 
younger boys, but today it would have just the opposite effect 
on those a little more advanced in age. 

The schools and the methods of teaching so far described 
were known as subscription schools. These schools were built 
by early citizens interested in education for their youngsters, 
and therefore they were called subscribers of the school. Teachers 
were not paid by these subscribers but were hired by them. 
The tuition was paid by the students and could be paid in cash, 
produce, or livestock. At one time when Mr. Gallup was 
teaching he had on hand fifty young colts that he had received 
for tuition payments and with these he carried on a lucrative 

There was another type of school; namely, the private school, 
established perhaps a little later than were the subscription 
schools. These were owned and taught by their teachers and the 
teachers were not free to come and go at will unless they 
closed their school. The private schools established in our city 
in their order were as follows: 1. Sinclair, 2. Belleville Academy, 
3. Aristocratic School, 4. St. Paul's Church, 5. Southern Illinois 
Conference of Female Academy, 6. Luthem Church School, 
7. Kindergarten Private School. 

The first record of any school taught in Belleville was a 
private one taught by Mr. Sinclair in 1815. Although records 
on all early schools are scarce, the next one we know of was 
taught in 1823 by a Mr. Elihu Shepherd, a well-educated man, 
who came from New York. The Belleville Academy was organ- 
ized in 1821 and its object was to afford the young men 
opportunities for higher learning. It was taught by a William 
Turner but without much success. 


In 1824, a Mr. John Dennis of Virginia opened a school 
which did prove to be a success and it was called the Aristocratic 
School. The Belleville Academy was located on the west side 
of South Jackson Street south of Lincoln Street about where 
the Jackson Street Methodist Church now stands, while the 
Aristocratic School held its sessions in the Mitchell building on 
the north side of the Square where now stands the Belleville 
National Bank. It was patronized by many from here and St. 
Louis. Mr. Dennis conducted another school in a small building 
on South High which is still standing today at 304 South 
High. In 1856 he was appointed a teacher in our public schools 
and taught here until his death in 1869. His private school 
had been the first in the state to teach Hebrew, Greek, and 
Latin. The boarding school which he maintained at 304 South 
High also served as his home at one time. One of his most 
noted students was James B. Eads, the builder of the Eads 
bridge. Here also were educated some of the boys of the wealth- 
iest Belleville families of that time, all of whom, in later years, 
were proud of the education they had received from the likeable 
Mr. Dennis. 

There were several other private schools, among them being 
one that was maintained by the Reverend John F. Brooks, a 
Presbyterian minister, and it was rather pretentious for the time. 
It, too, was also located on South High and contained black- 
boards, maps, charts, globes, and other equipment not found 
in the other private schools. Another was taught by Mr. and 
Mrs. Charles Edwards in what was then the Odd Fellows' Hall 
located on the present site of the Lincoln Hotel. 

The first step towards the establishment of free schools in 
Illinois grew out of the enactment by Congress in 1875 of a 
land ordinance for ascertaining the mode of disposing of the 
lands in the western territory. Out of this, largely because of 
the work of Thomas Jefferson, grew our system of townships, 
one section in each having been set aside for maintaining public 
schools. The first school districts in St. Clair county to be 


organized under this law were in 1825. Those created were 
Cherry Grove, Turkey Hill, Sugar Creek, Ogle Creek, and 
Mount Pleasant. 

The first city school board was elected in 1847 because the 
subscription schools, private schools and church schools, had 
been unsatisfactory. Citizens met in the Belleville House in Oc- 
tober, 1848 and there laid the ground work for the first public 
school system in Belleville. Henry Goedeking, president of the 
board, inaugurated the system, selecting the Odd Fellows Hall 
(where Hotel Lincoln now stands) as the place where it should 
be located and he saw to it that local craftsmen made the 
necessar)' equipment. It was to be supported by both tuition and 
money from the school fund. 

The salaries of the country grade teachers as late as 1850 
were as low as $25 per month for men and $12.50 for women. 
The women then weren't regarded as good teachers as were the 
men because they lacked physical strength, which was so 
essential for keeping a good school. 

When, in 1855, the Public School law became effective in 
Illinois, the school association of Belleville disbanded and the 
present system, state and district supported schools, began. Our 
citv then had no school buildings of its own so classes had to 
be held in rented quarters, and these were held in the Odd 
Fellows' Hall, the Advocate Building, empty stores, basements 
of churches, etc., some of which were poorly lighted and 
ventilated, but cleanliness, comfort, and health were not so 
highly evaluated then as they are now. 

In the citv school board election of 1857, Phillip B. Fouke, 
William Lorey, and William Erhardt were elected to serve on 
the city school board, but all declined to qualify for their 
position. Another election was then held and Phillip B. Fouke, 
who had declined the first election, was named with C. P. 
Ellis and Jacob Lehr as the directors. Fouke enjoyed the work 
so much that he later ran for the president of the board and was 


elected. It was in this new system that two of our greatest 
educators, George Bunsen and Henry Raab, came into promi- 

EARLY DOCTORS (1700-1901) 

With the arrival of the first white man came also the word 
medicine. The native French word was "medicin" which was 
gradually changed by the Indian and the white settlers until 
we have the word medicine. 

To the Indian this word meant mystery. Thus a "medicine 
man" also became a mystery man. The first medicine for the 
Indians was made of herbs and plants. The bark of the white 
spruce trees when boiled in water produced a liquid which was 
very useful in cases when the patient had contracted malaria. 
The chief source of poison for the Indian was the toadstool, 
and many a white man was killed by an arrow coated with this 
poison. For relaxation and peace of mind he turned to tobacco 
leaves. He was also familiar with plant oils and many of the 
simple drugs which we still use today. A root which was very 
pungent, and tasted like gun powder when crushed by the 
teeth, was employed to counteract snake bites. This root was 
generally masticated before being applied to the bite. The plant 
from which it was derived had several stalks about a foot high 
covered with white flowers. He also used another powder which 
he applied to dislocations and open wounds. The percentage 
of cases in which gangrene set in after being treated with this 
substance was remarkably low. 

When the practical methods of healing failed, the Indian 
turned to his superstitions because the Indian preferred death 
to a lingering illness and therefore the "medicine man" was 
given only a short time to effect a cure. He would first advise 
the patient to get as much sleep as possible and if this didn't 
help, all the sick man's friends would dance around him, 
chanting their weird rituals. Then the patient was given a 


medical examination, a few oils and herbs, and the "medicine 
man" departed. After the patient got well the "medicine man" 
was given a feast as his reward. 

The medical work for the French was done by their mission- 
aries who cared not only for them but also for the Indians. 
Thev administered not only the spiritual needs of the inhabitants 
but the sights of physical suffering that they encountered 
prompted them to acquire such medical knowledge as their 
ecclesiastically trained minds could grasp. They practiced bleed- 
ing, divine healing, and healing by the use of prayer. Their 
methods were very crude, but proved to be a vast improvement 
over the earlier Indian treatments. They were unskilled in both 
the essentials of medicine and surgical methods. Their pet 
treatment was bleeding, and even though the number of deaths 
was very high they still believed whole-heartedly in it. 

When the English came the practice of medicine seemed 
to have become a profession. The doctors that serv^ed the people 
would receive in return for their ser\'ices mostly furs or skins 
which were valued at approximately twent)'-five cents a pound. 
Although this form of exchange was plentiful in the wilds of 
the Mississippi, still in some places they had considerable dif- 
ficultv in making collections. In one instance a Dr. Renal sued 
Charles Gratiot for the sum of three hundred pounds of deer 
skins for ser\'ices rendered for amputating the leg of a visitor 
in Gratiot's home. 

The American doctor, besides being a practitioner, farmed in 
conjunction with his medical duties. By 1840 there were three 
prominent doctors practicing in Belleville. A Dr. Smith, the 
first surgeon of Belleville, was favored especially because of 
his courtly manner and elegant dress. Dr. Peter Wilkins Randall 
was loved by the people of Belleville for his superior medical 
knowledge, and he earned the title of "the best physician 
Belleville had in those days." However, the most beloved one 
was Dr. Adolphus George Berchelman, a German, who practiced 


here for forty years. His entire life was devoted to medicine 
and ever) thing he did was in the interest of that practice. Others 
worthy of mention were: Dr. Charles Woodworth, a specialist 
in cholera; Dr. William Gale Goforth; Dr. William Roman; 
Dr. Joseph Green; Dr. Wm. Mitchell; Dr. James Melrose; and 
a Dr. Hancock. 

Surgery has made its greatest strides since 1880 and the use 
of anesthetics and antiseptics have developed since that time. 
The old methods of numbing portions of the body preparotory 
to operating were alcohol, h^^notism, extreme cold, or extreme 
pressure. Special strong men were hired to hold the patient 
down during this administration. Naturally there were few 
operations attempted on the abdomen then and very few doctors 
would ever attempt an appendix operation. At that time the 
common operations were the extraction of gun shot, and the 
amputation of limbs, although a few doctors were quite success- 
ful with the removal of harmless tumors. 

The practice of medicine had improved somewhat over the 
earliest pioneer days. Patent medicines were numerous; in fact, 
so much so that there seemed to be no end of them and each one 
was guaranteed to be a sure remedy. Medical knowledge being 
meager, there is no doubt but that many of these patent 
medicines had only a psychological value. When our ancestors 
took sick, they hurried to the drug store and there they 
purchased some "bear's oil," warranteed ague pills, or some 
"Ipecacuanha roots," quinine, morphia, red precipitate, cologne 
water, Baterman's drops, lemonade powder, or croton oil. 

Cupping, today a practically obsolete art, was practiced ex- 
tensively in the early days. It consisted of drawing the blood 
from the surface by use of a cup to relieve congestion. After 
the cup was heated, it was placed firmly over the area to be 
treated. As the air in it cooled, it contracted, creating a partial 
vacuum and the suction drew out the blood. 

It was often said that the early physician didn't always know 


what he was doing, but one thing was certain, he knew what 
he wanted for his sendees. The city doctor was usually paid in 
cash but the country doctor was paid in nearly ever)'thing from 
cash to turnips. The fees were determined by the Medical 
Societ)' of Belleville which had drawn up what was known 
as a "Fee Bill." 

Charges for such services as cupping, medicine, and mileage 
were specified. This was given wide circulation so that all 
patients would know the fee in advance. Some examples of 
early prices for day services were as follows: (1) Visit in town, 
$1.00; (2) Visit in country, SI. 00 for the first mile and $.50 
for each additional mile; (3) Xight calls, double day calls; (4) 
detention or unusual duration of visit, $.50 an hour; (5) medi- 
cine per dose, $.25; (6) extraction of a tooth, $1.00; (7) am- 
putation of leg or arm, $20.00 to $50.00; (8) attendance of 
contagious disease, two times that of ordinary diseases. 

Although small pox had been put under control many years 
before, there was nevertheless a mild epidemic of it in 1901, 
which was followed three years later by a severe one, in which 
over 4,000 cases were reported. The main cause for this was 
the negligence of the victims to consult a doctor early enough, 
the public's misgivings in vaccination, and the refusal to 
vaccinate even after being advised to do so. 

In glancing down the years one sees that only seldom have 
sons of our phvsicians followed in the footsteps of their fathers. 
There are only a few cases where it did occur. Dr. Hugo E. 
Wangelin has been ably followed by his son, Dr. Evans H. 
Wangelin. Dr. B. E. Twitchell by his son, Standlee. Dr. Louis 
J. Bechtold, for many years one of Belleville's leading physicians, 
has been ably succeeded by his tw^o sons, August and Edmond, 
and the latter, by his son John, thus making three generations 
of doctors. Besides these there was the late Dr. \Vashington 
West, Sr., whose son, Washington West, Jr., until his death, 
was one of the town's best physicians and surgeons. 


Our physicians today are C. E. Baldree, G. L. Bauer, Charles 
Bauman, J. D. Belleville, Arthur R. Brownlie, Arthur A. Clyne, 
Irvin W. Davis, Herbert Dexheimer, W. F. Haines, Jack T. 
Haskins, R. C. Heiligenstein, R. J. Joseph, Raymond J. Kaye, 
H. L. Lange, Everett Lanmann, J. J. McCullough, C. L. Martin, 
George E. Meyer, Jos. H. Needles, Paul Norbet, G. C. Otrich, 
C. P. Renner, Fred Rose, Wm. F. Rose, L. W. Roth, A. R. 
Sintzel, Standlee Tvvitchel, W. H. Walton, J. E. Wheeler, 
Charles O. White, and C. S. Wilson. Our dentists are Arthur 
Beske, L. A. Bischoff, H. A. Brethauer, C. R. Conroy, N. H. 
Feder, C. R. Hough, R. M. Isselhard, Fred Jaeckel, Wallace 
C. Karstens, John D. Kubitschek, F. M. Kuhn, I. A. Leunig, 
St., I. A. Leunig, Jr. G. R. Martin, Francis W. Nesbit, F. A. 
iNeuhoff, F. A. Ochs, E. L. Rauth, D. R. Robertson, A. D. 
Schilling, M. W. Wagner, C. L. Wilbret, M. E. Wilbret, 
M. N. Wilderman and T. J. Winkler. 


As the tide of development of our country surged westward, 
this community had farms such as could be found only in a 
few places in the world. The land of the eastern farmer had 
been poor and rocky and a new farm in this particular location 
was the dream of the impoverished peasant of Europe, as well 
as the salvation of the easterner that settled here. 

The American Indian was the first to own this land. His 
title to it was no better than ours; namely, occupancy and use 
of the soil. When the white man came to till this land, the first 
plowing was difficult, yet it was a stirring experience for every 
pioneer. Terrifying stories were often told of snakes scampering 
in all directions at the approach of the plow and of the 
unbelievably large numbers that were killed before the first 
crop was harvested. Oxen were frequently bitten by them and 
the pioneers, often bare-footed, had to be on constant alert so 
as not to startle the reptiles, and meet a similar fate. 


The gardens of about 100 years ago would surprise some of 
us today. Planting activities always began in the home and here 
the littfe flower and garden plants remained in their litde boxes 
until it was warm enough for transplanting out of doors. 

To be sure, no pioneer starved to death, but he had to work 
hard to eke out a mere existence. One of the regular tasks was 
the making of com meal, which was usually done on a grater 
in the form of a piece of tin, bent in an arc, on which an ear 
of corn was rubbed. This took quite a bit of time and effort 
to get enough meal for a loaf of bread. 

Some wheat was also raised and when the farmers flailed it 
out by hand it came out clean, but when it was tramped out 
by horses, many of our earlier citizens contended the biscuits 
made from it did not exacdy have a true biscuit flavor. By 1840 
our community probably produced more stock and grain than 
any other community of equal size in the Northwest Territory. 

Some of the lesser crops cultivated by the farmers hereabouts 
were cotton, sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, and garden crops. 
The cotton was cultivated, picked, separated from the lint, and 
manufactured into cloth by hand. The first cotton gin in 
operation in Belleville was built by Thomas Harrison, and this 
was quite an improvement, for it made the work much easier. 

Other crops raised by the farmers were much smaller in 
proportion than they are today. Very little wheat was grown, 
for the demand then wasn't great, nor were there mills to grind 
or bolt the flour. Han^esting too, was difficult because there 
was no machinery, only the sickle and the reaping hook. Later 
the cradle was invented and this was such a great step forward 
that it was believed impossible to ever improve upon it. No one 
had ever dreamed of a reaper or a combine. 

It was not always necessary to fatten hogs with com for in 
that day oak trees were numerous and these produced an 
abundant crop of acorns that fattened hogs so much cheaper. 


Corn for fattening hogs was used sparingly because it had to 
be used in making hquor and Johnny-cakes and then, too, 
corn-fed hogs produced a fat that was both sweet and oily. 

In the fall of the year, when the days were cool and clear, great 
supplies of apples, pears, and peaches could be seen on the 
roofs of sheds in the rear of the yards. These were being dried 
so they would keep and could be served as fruit in the long 
winter months. 

Business conditions during the war with England in 1812 
had taxed the productive energies of the people severely, and its 
boom was felt everywhere. A general scarcity of money was 
noted later in all business centers and business in 1816 became 
stagnant. Streets were overgrown with offensive weeds. All 
prices declined. A good cow brought $6.00 a head, a good horse 
brought $40.00, and fattened hogs, $1.50 a hundred weight. 
Whole fields of corn were often sold for 7 cents a bushel taken 
as it stood in the field. The number of bushels was usually 
estimated by the number of rows. 

Remedies of course, were attempted to cure this depression. 
The National government believed in a "hands off" policy, but 
the state government resorted to various means. It passed 
bankruptcy acts, stay laws, and brought into existence state 
banks. These banks proved a boom. Our county was also anxious 
to do its part to rid us of the depression and in 1817 the county 
government paid from $.50 to $2.00 for wolf scalps, the price 
varying in accordance with age and size of the animal. 

Due to hard times that followed the War of 1812, the pioneer, 
especially in the West, resorted to bartering. There was a 
scarcity of money and that brought about counterfeiting. Much 
of the money in circulation at that time was of dubious 
character. Law enforcement was poorly organized in the pion- 
eer's days and therefore citizens often had to take it upon 
themselves to enforce the law. When this was done it was called 
taking cases to Judge Lynch's court. Counterfeit notes were so 


numerous that in 1815, a company with Dr. Estes as captain, 
was formed to promptly mete out "lynch justice" at a place near 
Silver Creek. This was so effective that the offenders soon fled 
and counterfeit money disappeared. 

VILLAGE LIFE (1814-1850) 

In the year 1818, Mr. George Blair, owner of the land on 
which Belleville was built, sold all of his interests to Mr. 
Etienne Pensoneau, a French Canadian who could barely 
speak English. Pensoneau, a wealthy slave owner, conducted 
a dry goods store located near the Richland Creek but all his 
wealth and prestige contributed nothing to the growth of the 

Ninian Edwards, the first governor of the Illinois Territory, 
bought out Pensoneau in 1818. No individual in Illinois was 
better qualified to lift Belleville out of the stagnation into which 
it had fallen than was Mr. Edwards. He possessed both wealth 
and talent, and being very ambitious to increase his own fortune, 
never permitted an honorable occasion to escape when he 
could make money. He was an accomplished orator, a classical 
scholar, and possessed a very fine library, which he used 
extensively to further his own education. 

In February, 1819, there occurred one of the most lamentable 
incidents in the history of our city: the duel in which Alphonso 
C. Stuart was killed by Timothy Bennett. A horse, owned by 
Bennett, had the habit of breaking loose and straying in the 
neighboring field, which belonged to Stuart. On one occasion 
one of the men working for Stuart peppered it with beans. 
This greatly angered Bennett. When he told his friends Jacob 
Short and Nathan Fike about it, they suggested it would be 
sport to have him challenge Stuart to a sham duel, to which 
Bennett agreed. The preliminaries were all arranged in the old 
Tannehill Hotel that stood on the corner where now stands the 
National Hotel. The rifles were to be loaded with powder 


only, but just before starting to the grounds where the duel 
was to be tought, Bennett stepped into an alley and rammed 
a ball down his rifle. This was seen by Miss Raechel Tannehill, 
later Mrs. Rader, whose testimony at Bennett's trial greatly 
influenced the outcome, which was a verdict of guilty of murder. 

The duel was fought just south of our present Turner Hall, 
on February 8, 1819, with Nathan Fike and Jacob Short acting 
as seconds. When all were ready, the principals were placed 
thirty yards apart and told to await the signal to fire, but Bennett 
fired before the signal was given. His aim was accurate, and 
Stuart fell mortally wounded. 

Bennett, Fike, and Short were at once arrested, and Bennett 
was confined to the County Jail. From this he escaped but two 
years later was recaptured, tried, found guilty of murder, and 
on September 3, 1821, he was hanged in a large field located 
at about the 1200 block on West Main Street. The trial had 
been the most celebrated and exciting event that had ever 
occurred in St. Clair County. Such notables as Judge John 
Reynolds, Prosecuting Attorney Daniel P. Cook, and Defense 
Attorney Thomas Hart Benton, a U. S. senator from Missouri, 
took part in it. 

The original streets of Belleville were mere paths through 
corn fields. Their extended lengths and improved condition 
have been an accurate guage of the city's growth. As late as 
June, 1843, the streets were still in their natural condition. 
In wet weather they were almost impassable because of the 
deep, sticky mud. In dry weather they were covered with 
a deep layer of dust. 

The first general store in our city was built by Joseph Kerr 
and was located near Chapman's Mill. The general stores, 
however, were not as interesting as the early grocery stores and 
of these a wealth of legends has been handed down. Old time 
stores sold "from the barrel," and "out of the box." Package 
goods were not thought of, and one can imagine what a peculiar 


mixture of taste and odor resulted when the dried apple barrel 
happened to stand near the herring barrel. Grocers did not 
always remove pickle or herring juice from their hands but 
went with dripping fingers into the cracker box. There were 
no deliveries. It was up to the customer to take his purchases 
home. Even as recent as Civil War days, there was not a 
business house in the city that had a delivery wagon. It was 
cash and carry on a rigid basis. The objection to delivery 
services was mostly that it would take all the profits. They raged 
at the newspaper editors, who dared talk of delivery wagons. 
The first firm to get one of these was the Hartman Brothers, 
when they opened a new store at Main and Church streets. 
The owners, as well as the community, were proud of this neatly 
painted free delivery wagon. 

Self service, as practiced today, was not yet thought of and 
would have entailed the services of a detective and a weight 
lifter. The grocer had it somewhere, but it was so well hidden 
from the customer that only the grocer and God, and sometimes 
only God, knew where. 

The list of items sold in the early days were long and varied 
and included such things as these: brimstone (now sulphur), old 
monganhela whiskey, percussion caps, sperm candles, lead shot, 
saleratus (baking soda), New Orleans loaf sugar, raw coffee 
beans, Boston nails, paper, tobacco, salted fish, spices, raisins, 
rectified whiskey, malaga wine, epsom salts, sperm, star, and 
mould candles. 

Early travel was slow, difficult, and very uncomfortable. 
Stopping places for travelers were less numerous than today 
but Belleville at that time boasted of three very modern hotels. 
They were all equipped with livery stables, much in the manner 
that the present day hotels provide garages for the cars of the 

At that time too, there seems to have been price regulation. 
In 1808, the County Court ordered the rates for hotels to be 


as follows: meals, twenty-five cents; one half pint whiskey, 
twelve and one-half cents; bedding, twelve and one-half cents; 
French brandy or rum, twelve and one-half cents; stabling per 
day, fifty cents. 

The first hotel was built by James Tannehill on the south 
side of West Main right next to the Public Square, where 
the National Hotel was erected in 1857 and still stands. 
His hotel had a main building that was two stories high but 
additions and sub-additions later gave it the appearance of a 
French village. 

To induce the guests to pay their bills when due, hotel 
managers sometimes gave special rates for advanced payment. 
Regular board with lodging if paid in advance, two dollars per 
week; regular board with lodging if paid at close of week, two 
dollars and fifty cents; regular board without lodging if paid 
in advance, one dollar and fifty cents; regular board without 
lodging if paid at close of week, two dollars; board single day, 
seventy-five cents; single meal for a man and one feed for 
horse, forty cents; the last being the most interesting of the 
combmation offers. 

The Mansion House was located on the comer of Main and 
High Streets where the Lincoln Theatre now stands. It was 
built in 1825 and was razed in 1919. The present theatre is 
marked with a plaque reminding us that the Mansion House 
once stood there and was host once to Charles Dickens, who 
mentions it in his American Notes. 

The Franklin Boarding House, kept by P. K. Fleming on the 
north side of East Main Street between the Public Square 
and High Street directly over the John Murray store advertised 
as follows: "Regular boarders and travelers on horseback, or 
in carriages, accommodated on the usual terms. All horses will 
be well taken care of and no exertion will be spared to endeavor 
to make both man and horse comfortable." 

Our village had grown rapidly and by 1840 boasted a popula- 


tion of about 2,000. They came from all parts of the world and 
nearly all of the languages of Europe could be heard on our 
streets. The predominant one was English, but French and 
German were almost as numerous. Even the sons of Ireland 
spoke in their original Gaelic. By 1840 the sons of Africa also 
filtered in. 

The Public Square at that time was surrounded with fine 
buildings and was intersected by two heavily traveled streets. 
Our village was also located on the great Western Mail Route 
so that a four-horse mail stagecoach passed through it each 
way, every day. This gave our early settlers great mail facilities. 

Homes in the early days were built very close to the street 
line, so that every home could have its back yard and garden, 
wherein, with much work and patience, amazing results in both 
flower and vegetable plots were achieved. Furniture used in 
these early homes, if still available, has become cherished heir- 
looms. Its construction was sturdy and it exhibited true craftman- 
ship. With expert knowledge of retaining the natural depth and 
beauty of the wood, and with careful and painstaking finishing, 
much of it today beautifies present day homes. 

Since mosquitoes were a greater menace in pioneer days 
than they are today, additional protection had to be taken. The 
mosquito bar is a relic that the present generation knows very 
little about. It was suspended from the ceiling above the 
bed with an opening on one side so that access to the bed could 
be had. If one could find the opening he could retire and sleep 
with a sense of protection unless one of the pesty things had 
entered the inner confines before. 

Heating the early home was a real problem for hardly ever 
was there enough heat to be really comfortable. Plumbing in 
the early home was unheard of. The result was that often our 
ancestors had a hearth that was much cleaner than was their 
skin. Washing all over wasn't supposed to be very healthy as 
was often proven by those who had contracted a cold after 


taking a warm bath. Some said that many children were sewed 
in their winter underwear when the weather became cold, not 
taking it off until the spring arrived. 

Because there was a lack of heat and a lack of plumbing 
facilities, bathing was not a very pleasant experience. The home 
was not equipped with a private bathroom and therefore it was 
difficult to have a room in which a bath could be taken at its 
proper temperature. Even bath tubs jammed against a stove 
were not ver)^ comfortable. The first bath tubs had a scratchy 
film of sand in the bottom to prevent falling in the tub. 

In 1848 Mr. Simon Eimer changed his home into a private 
bath house and invited all citizens of this and other towns to 
indulge in this new pleasure. His home was located near the 
Catholic Church and this helped greatly to increase the number 
of his patrons. All considered bathing a luxury, but admitted 
that it was conductive to health, particularly in the summer. 
It was enjoyable too because the individual bather could regulate 
the heat to the desired temperature. The local gentry took to 
the idea and made their weekly "dunking" a sort of social event, 
with the result that there was a general rush for Eimer's bath 
tubs on Saturday nights. 

The bath house in Simon Eimer's home was nothing more 
than two large rooms that were filled with several rows of 
bath tubs. Hot water was supplied by huge old railroad boilers 
and here, in merry fashion, our early citizens would splash about. 

Not all could take their baths on Saturday night and those 
who couldn't get in came back on Sunday morning. The bath 
tubs must have taken a terrific beating on Saturdav nights and 
a lesser one on Sunday mornings, but the regular Saturday 
bath soon became an established rule for our citizens and is 
one of the interesting chapters of early American history. 

With the advent of modem plumbing came the death of the 
bath houses. Soon plumbing became so reduced in price that 


all, and not only the select few, began to take their Saturday 

Food supplies for winter were usually very plentiful but were 
acquired at the cost of much labor. Before winter set in the 
gleaming copper ketde worked over-time making apple butter, 
canned fruits, and vegetables. This work was usually done in 
the summer kitchen, which also served as a laundry. 

As time went on the village grew; until now there was 
ample work for fifteen doctors, ten lawyers, and a due proportion 
of clergymen. The three hotels, all on Main Street, did a 
thriving business; our fourteen retail stores sold about $40,000 
worth of goods per year; and the two drug stores were always 

Our shoe cobblers in 1844 not only repaired shoes but also 
made them. If vou saw a sample shoe in his store that you 
wanted he would take your order and in about two weeks you 
could call for your pair of shoes. For payment you could give 
him either cash or hides and these could be either green or 
dry. The prices for his shoes were as follows: Men's kip 
brogans, eighty-seven cents to one dollar and twenty-five cents; 
calf skin brogans, one dollar and twenty-five cents to one dollar 
and sixty-two cents; boys' shoes, seventy-five cents to one dollar 
and thirty-seven cents; women's shoes, eighty-seven cents to 
one dollar and twelve cents. The shoes were made out of cow 
hide but the kip brogans could be made of any young hide. The 
brogans were heavy, a rather crude shoe, and it was difficult 
to tell the difference between the right and left shoe. 

To become an acknowledged leader in any profession requires 
a lot of work and studying. This was especially true of the 
early lawyers of our city. The first of these to locate here were 
Mr. William Mears, Mr. Robert McLaughlin, A. C. Stuart, 
and Adam W. Snyder. Mr. Stuart was a man of learning and 
talent, but died early because he worked and played too 
much and rested too little. Mr. Mears, who was appointed At- 


torney General for the Territory of Illinois by Governor Ninian 
Edwards, was very capable and made a lot of money. Mr. 
McLaughlin didn't like practising law, so he and Ninian 
Edwards entered the merchandising business. Their store was 
located on the north side of the Public Square, near the present 
Belleville National Bank building. Although Mr. Synder was 
not an especially popular lawyer, much of his life w^as spent 
in public employment. He was a man of genius and possessed 
great talents. He had a convincing influence on jurors, who 
nearly always set it down that he w^as right in his address to 

June, 1844, became noted for the great flood that completely 
engulfed the American Bottom. Mississippi River steamers 
could travel from bluff to bluff. No dry land was visible for 
miles except a few mounds and high knolls east and south of 
the village of East St. Louis. Later devastating floods occurred 
in 1851, 1858, 1862, 1876, 1878, 1883, 1892, 1903, and 1927. 

At about this time Belleville became interested in better 
streets, for the village council passed an ordinance which 
required every able bodied man over 21 and under 50 years of 
age to labor upon public roads, streets, or alleys for a period not 
exceeding five days each year when notified to do so by the 
street inspector. There was a fine of $.75 per day if one 

Just as prices on all things were much lower in the early 
days than they are today, so too were the city salaries. The 
incorporation articles allowed the town treasurer a salary of 
only ten dollars a year. The town clerk was better paid for he 
received six per cent of all taxes and twelve per cent of all 
the fines collected. The village assessor and street commissioners 
received the large sum of one dollar and fifty cents per day. 
Those that were paid by the day could only collect for the days 
in which they actively engaged in official duties. 

Our village all the while continued to prosper and to grow. 


Our natural growth then as now was along the main arteries 
of travel, the principal streets being Main and Illinois Streets. 
New houses were always built along roads leading to and from 
the village. Eventually the roads were so dotted with houses 
that they became streets. Examples of this are Freeburg, 
Mascoutah, Lebanon, and Centerville Avenues. Gradually gaps 
between these roadside advances were filled in and the territory 
annexed to the city. At the present time, the outlying gaps 
in the city's far flung stretches are being filled in by the develop- 
ment of territory lying along the belt highways. 



A Distinguished Citizen 


HE historians' TEST of an individual's greatness is "What 
did he leave to grow? Did he start men to thinking and acting 
along fresh lines with a vigor that persisted after him?" By 
this test we shall now consider one of our leading citizens. 

Other Liberals had already preceded him. They were for 
the most part men and women of education and culture, who 
at once began to exert influence on the intellectual and political 
life of both the state and the nation. 

Among these were Theodore and Edward Hilgard, Theodore 
J. Kraft, Gustave Heimberger, Henry, Joseph, and Edward 
Abend, Adolph Englemann, John Scheel, and Dr. George 

The German emigration to our city continued increasing. In 
1837 the families of Adolph Hildebrandt, Junius Raith, William 
A. Michel, Fred and Herman Wolf, Dr. Albert Trapp, Dr. 
Adolph Berchelmann, Henry Schleth, and August Hassel were 
added to our already large German population. 

Gustavus Philip Koerner was born on November 20, 1809, 
at Frankfort, Germany. When seven years old he was sent to 
a Model School in that city. In these schools there was litde 
memorizing and the pupils had always to explain the why and 
wherefore of things. If you failed to study your lesson you were 


kept after school to learn the lessons you had neglected. If 
you were guilty of bad conduct this same thing happened or 
you remained in during play time. Women teachers in Germany 
taught the girls knitting, sewing, embroidering, and the like, 
but for them to teach other subjects in that early day was wholly 
unheard of, and for them to teach boys was regarded as ridicu- 
lous. So Gustavus Koemer had only men teachers. After grad- 
uating from the Model School, he continued his studies at the 
Gymnasium (college) in that city. 

In 1828 he entered the University of Gena to study law. 
Later he transferred to the University of Munich and finally 
to Heidelberg where he received his Doctor of Laws Degree. 

When the Frankfort revolt of 1833 occurred, he at once be- 
came active with the Liberals and was wounded in the fiahting. 
Then, with the aid of friends, he fled to France for safety, 
where he joined a party sailing from Havre to the United States. 
He arrived in New York on June 17, 1833, and set out at once 
for St. Louis. There he became disappointed because Missouri 
tolerated slaver\% so he moved to Belleville. 

Gustave Koemer threw himself whole heartedly into Amer- 
ican life wanting to become as representative a citizen as 
possible. Hoping to further his education, he took a law course 
at Transylvania University, which is located at Lexington, 
Kentucky. Here he hoped to become well versed in American 
law and also to greatly improve his use of the English language. 

While at the University, in company with a friend, he went 
walking one morning. Stopping at a very large white mansion, 
their knock at the door was answered by a negro sen^ant 
who led them into a large and elegant waiting room. It was 
the home of Henry Clay, who came in and talked with 
them for an hour. When he found out that Koerner was a 
German he at once launched into a eulogy of the Germans. 
"The Germans," he said, "are very honest people, fine farmers, 
and very industrious. I consider them a blessing to the country 


in which they settle. The only thing I do not like is their 
politics." Completing his course at the University, Koener return- 
ed to Belleville where he began the practice of law and entered 
politics. His law office w^as in a building which occupied the 
location of the now modern Elliot Liquor Store. 

Upon his marriage to Sophie Engelmann on June 17, 1836, 
he resided temporarily in the small house that stood at the 
corner of Main and Church Street, pending his occupancy of 
the somewhat larger and much more attractive place adjoining 
the Hinckley Bank. The latter fronted on the Public Square 
and occupied the present site of the First National Bank 
Building. Later he lived at the corner of North Second and 
West A Streets until he built a home at the south-east corner 
of Abend Street and Mascoutah Avenue. 

In December, 1840, Koerner was elected to be our electoral 
messenger to Washington. The five electors of Illinois met in 
Springfield the first Wednesday of that month to cast their 
ballots for Van Buren. Koerner left by boat at once, crossed 
the Alleghenies by stagecoach and finished the trip by train. 
He delivered the sealed votes to Vice-President Richard M. 
Johnson. In Washington he met John Quincy Adams, James 
Polk, Thomas Hart Benton, and also President Van Buren. 
Again on December 26, 1840, he made a hurried trip to 
Baltimore to buy a fire engine for the city of Belleville, and 
on New Year's Day, attended the public reception at the 
White House where he met General Scott. 

In 1842 he was elected to the state legislature as representative 
from St. Clair County and had the distinction of being the 
first German to be elected to that body. In 1842 the English 
novelist Charles Dickens, while on a tour in the United 
States, passed through Belleville. He wanted to see the new 
Court House, so Koerner at once tried to make proper arrange- 
ments for such a visit through Judge Breese. Breese though, 
when asked to give Dickens a seat on the bench, refused to 


grant that because as he put it, "He is one of those puffed up 
Enghshmen who, when they get home, use their pen to ridicule 
and slander us. He can come in, but will be treated like any 
other mortal." Needless to say, Dickens did not visit the Court 

Koerner had become acquainted with Stephen A. Douglas 
while in Springfield in 1840, and the latter came to visit 
him in 1844. It was then that he made one of his most 
effective speeches prior to the presidential election in 1844. 

Koerner took an active part in politics, but in this he was 
true always to his conviction, for he was in turn, first a Demo- 
crat, then a Republican, and again a Democrat. The first 
campaigns in which he engaged were those of 1840 and '44. 
In 1845 he was named a Justice of the Illinois Supreme Court 
and accepted it because his German friends urged him to, 
due to the prestige it would give them. He remained on the 
bench until 1850 when he resigned to enter politics again. 

In the year 1852, the great Kentucky statesman, Henry 
Clay, died. A large meeting was held in our city to express 
sympathy over his death. Koerner drew up the resolutions and 
had to support them in a speech, and although he opposed the 
great statesman politically, the eulogy expressed his true feelings 
of admiration. 

On April 19, 1852, the state Democratic convention met at 
Springfield, and Koerner was a delegate to it. Mattison won 
the gubernatorial nomination, while Koerner was nominated 
on the third ballot for Lieutenant-Governor. In this campaign 
Koerner and Douglas toured the state, speaking at Freeport, 
Chicago, Joliet, LaSalle, Peru, Peoria, Peking, Beardstown, 
Springfield, Carlinville, and Alton. Most of the speaking how- 
ever, was done by Douglas and as a matter of courtesy, Koerner 
merely sat on the platform with him. 

In January, 1853, he was inaugurated Lieutenant-Governor. 
Ex-Governor Reynolds was at that time elected Speaker of the 


House. Thus both the House and Senate were presided over 
by Belleville men. 

When his party accepted the pro-slavery policies of Presidents 
Pierce and Buchanan, Koemer broke broke away from it and 
played a conspicuous part in the bringing about of a new party. 
While a member of this new party, he became rather closely 
associated with Abraham Lincoln, whom he had met at various 
times before. At a Republican rally in our city in 1856 Koemer 
introduced Lincoln to the local audience. Commenting on 
Lincoln and Douglas, Koerner once said that Lincoln delighted 
his crowds and kept them in a perfect roar of laughter, while 
Douglas interested them by his impressive way of speaking. 

In 1856 Koerner was nominated on the Republican ticket 
for Congress but was defeated by a fusion of the Democrats 
and "Know-Nothings.' 

On May 9, 1860, the Republican state convention was held 
at Bloomington at which Koerner was elected a delegate at 
large. These electors, meeting later in Chicago, named Lincoln 
the Republican nominee for President. 

When the Civil War broke out Koerner enlisted and became 
a Colonel. However, before the end of the war. President 
Lincoln in 1862 appointed him United States minister to 
Spain. Here he remained until 1864 when he resigned and 
came back home. On May 4, 1865, he had the honor of 
serving as one of the pallbearers at Lincoln's funeral. In 1870, 
he entered politics again, but was defeated for the United States 
Senate by General John A. Logan. 

On June 26, 1872, the Liberal Republican and Democratic 
convention met in Springfield and Koerner became their 
nominee for Governor of Illinois. In this election he was de- 
feated, although he carried St. Clair County by 700 votes and 
ran ahead of the Liberal Republican state ticket by 12,500 
votes, but not enough to overcome Grant's majority over Greeley 
which was was over 40,000. 


His last active political campaign was in 1876, when he 
favored Tilden over Hayes because the former was more liberal. 
Soon therafter he retired from politics and spent the rest of his 
days in peaceful literary pursuits. In 1880 he published a book 
entided The German Element in the United States. Before 
that, in 1867, he had published one entitled From Sfain, 
while in the latter part of 1880 he compiled, in two volumes, 
all the important laws of the state of Illinois. He died on April 
9, 1896, in his home on the corner of Abend and Mascoutah 
Avenue, having attained the ripe old age of 86. After his death 
his grandson, Edgar Rombauer, published his most popular 
work, Koerner's Memoirs. 

Many regard Gustavus Phillip Koerner as our most dis- 
tinguished citizen, for he was a lawyer, a jurist of distinction, 
Lieutenant-Governor of Illinois, United States minister to Spain, 
and a historian, but above all he was an exemplary citizen. 


Many able men, some of whom were men of distinction, have 
at one time or another made Belleville their home. Among the 
earliest of these we find the names of Stookcy, Miller, Eyman, 
Teter, Lemen, Ogle, Badgleys, Kinney, Whiteside, Phillips, 
Riggs, Varner, Redman, Stout, Pulliam, Messenger, Baker, 
Reynolds, Bissell, Trumbull, Edwards, Scott, Morrison, Niles, 
Underwood, West, Baker, and Hay. In 1818, more men 
settled here, coming from the state of Virginia. Noted among 
these were James Mitchell, John H. Dennis, and B. J. West, 
all of whom contributed their bit to the community, for these 
men were always ready to assume responsible positions of state 
and national government. Belleville gave Illinois three state gov- 
ernors, Ninian Edwards, John Reynolds, and William H. 
Bissel; two state superintendents of public instruction, James 
P. Slade and Henry Raab; two state treasurers, Edward Rutz 
and Charles Becker; three United States Senators, Ninian 
Edwards, James Shields, and Lyman Trumbull; two United 


States ministers, Gustav Koerner to Spain, and Jehu Baker to 

Prominent also in pioneer days was John Messenger, who 
was born in West Stock Bridge, Massachusetts, in the year 1771. 
He received a thorough education and acquired a love for 
English literature and mathematics. In 1783 he left the state 
of his birth, going to Jericho, Vermont, where he learned the 
trade of carpenter and millwright. He became so good at this 
that later, when he married, he made all of his own furniture, 
from walnut, cherry, and hard maple woods. 

While in Vermont he became acquainted with the family 
of Matthew Lyon. In fact he became so well acquainted with 
one of the daughters, named Ann, that he later married her. 

In 1799, Matthew Lyon and his family, which now included 
the new son-in-law John Messenger, left their native state and 
migrated to Kentucky where he founded the city of Eddyville, 
in Lyon County. Young Messenger, seriously objecting to 
slavery, moved to Illinois in 1802, although the Lyon family 
remained in Kentucky. He landed at Fort Chartres, stayed 
there two years, then moved to New Design. He later bought a 
large farm north of Belleville which he named Clinton Hill, 
and here spent the rest of his life. 

While living on the farm, he opened a quarry to supply the 
necessary stones for his home, wells, etc. He also established 
one of our earliest schools because many of his neighbors were 
anxious to learn to read and write. He soon decided also that 
this community needed mail service. Through his father-in-law, 
Matthew Lyon, who was a representative from Kentucky, he 
was able to open the Clinton Hill Indiana Territory Post 
Office. This Indiana Territory had been formed from the 
Northwest Territory in 1800 and included what is now Illinois. 

Having a good knowledge of higher mathematics, he was 
appointed Deputy Surveyor of the United States in 1832, in 


which capacity he surveyed the northern boundary of the state 
ot lUinois. 

By an act of Congress in 1809 the Territory of Ihinois was 
separated from the Territory of Indiana and Ninian Edwards 
was appointed its first governor, with Kaskaskia designated as 
the state capital. 

In 1818 lUinois became a state of the Union and John 
Messenger was one of the thirty-three delegates who met at 
Kaskaskia in that summer to frame the first constitution. When 
statehood had been granted, he became one of the members 
of the first General Assembly and was elected the first Speaker 
of the House of Representatives. 

In 1802 he organized the first Protestant church in St. Clair 
County and it became known as the Clinton Hill Baptist 
Church. In 1820 he surveyed a tract of three and one-half acres 
and deeded it to the church for a burying ground which is today 
known as the Clinton Hill or Messenger Cemetery. 

The children of John Messenger and Annie Lyon were, in 
the order of their birth, Amanda, Benjamin, Charles, Belinda, 
Elon, John, Minerva, Pamelia, and Matthew. 

On January 16, 1846, John Messenger passed away at his 
home on Clinton Hill at the age of 75. He was buried at the 
side of his wife, who preceeded him to the Great Beyond on 
October 16, 1842. Near him are also buried some of his children 
and many of his friends and neighbors. A great grandson, 
George Engelbert Hoffmann, still lives on the Messenger farm 
on the old Collinsville Road. On July 26, 1942, this great 
grandson dedicated the first monument in the United States 
to the battle of Pearl Harbor of December 7, 1941. 

Another representative settler whose life was typical of the 
early pioneers was William Kinney. He was born near Louis- 
ville, Kentucky, in 1781, a region that was known as "a bloody 
battle ground" because of the many Indian wars that took place 
there. In 1792 when he was eleven years old, the family moved 


to New Design, Illinois. His earlier life had been one of 
contant danger and hardships. Growing to manhood, he bought 
when but nineteen year old, a small farm just east of Belleville. 
Settling down there with his wife, he became a prosperous 
farmer. His wife taught him to read and write, and with 
the guidance of John Messenger and by diligent application, 
he became a very well-informed man. He conducted a country 
store on his farm and sold anything offered or demanded from 
whiskey to Negro slaves. The store and the farm prospered and 
the farm grew in size until it included the present site of St. 
John's Orphanage, formerly known as Glen Addie, on the 
Shiloh Road. Glen Addie, a pretentious estate, was built by 
Col. J. L. D. Morrison. 

Although primarily a farmer, he also entered the ministry 
and became quite a distinguished Baptist preacher. This prov- 
ided him with a good background for it increased his knowledge 
and made him a good public speaker. 

He abandoned the ministry for the political field. Kinney 
had become wealthy in business and attained prominence 
in politics. He was either whole-heartedly for or against what- 
ever the issues were at that time. He was elected to the first 
and third sessions of the State Senate and later served a term 
as Lieutenant-Governor, but in the election of 1834 he was 
defeated for governorship. He became president of the Board 
of Public Works in 1836, from which he resigned within a 
few years, returning to his country estate where he died in the 
year 1843, and where he is buried. He was a practical man 
and his free and easy manner made him very popular with 
evervone. His great grandson, John Thomas Lienesch, who died 
in 1944, lived on a farm in that vicinity. 

Another prominent native American was Ninian Edwards. 
He played an unusually important part in Illinois histor)'. 
When Illionis became a state in 1818 there were practically 
but two parties, the Edwards party and the anti-Edwards faction. 


In the first election of 1818 the Edwards faction won, and 
Edwards was elected U. S. Senator by the state legislature, 
holding that office until his resignation in 1824. 

In 1826 he was elected governor of Illinois, being the first 
Bellevillian, although he had but recently come to Belleville, 
to be elected to that office. He was the third governor of the 
state. With his political power increasing, he became the hub 
around which Illinois politics revolved. He did not seek re- 
election in 1830, but in 1832 he was defeated for Congress. 
In 1824 he resigned his senatorial seat to become minister to 
Mexico, but due to a bitter controversy between he and the 
Secretary of Treasury, he resigned this newly acquired mission. 

At one time his political power waned, but he staged a come- 
back. By birth and by conduct, he was a real aristocrat. He 
dressed in silk, wore his hair in a pig tail, rode in an elegant 
carriage, and was accompanied by liveried servants. When our 
city was visited by the cholera epidemic of 1833, physicians were 
so desperately needed that Governor Edwards hastened to 
attend the people of his community. Although the governor had 
never actually practiced medicine, he had a wide knowledge 
of the profession. He himself was stricken and died almost 
immediately, a victim of the deadly malady. 

John Reynolds, a true politician in every meaning of the 
word, was born in Pennsylvania, February 6, 1788, the son 
of Irish emmigrants who moved to Pennsylvania in 1788, and 
to Illinois in 1800, settling just east of Kaskaskia. 

He rose in his chosen profession because of his dogged 
determination to succeed. He had a flourishing law practice 
at Cahokia and later at Belleville. So successful had he become 
that he served as an Associate Judge of the Illinois Supreme 
Court from 1818 to 1825. He was known as "the old ranger," 
because in the war of 1812, along with Captain William B. 
Whiteside, he had taken part in Illinois' frequent skirmishes 
with the Indians. 

From 1826 to 1828 he served as a member of the General 


Assembly, finally crowning his political success by being elected 
Governor of the state in 1830, succeeding Ninian Edwards. 

In his campaign for the governorship in 1830 he toured the 
state on horseback, made speech after speech and caught the 
farmer's vote with his Irish blarney. He had vote-getting 
ability and was always ready to donate his legal service to the 
poor, all of which contributed towards his success. 

He was in sympathy with the southern Democrats and 
championed their cause in slavery. He was for states rights, 
opposed the National Bank, favored territorial expansion and 
opposed Lincoln and his Emancipation. Above all he detested 
the new Republican partv. He served ten terms as Congress- 
man from Illinois from 1833 to 1848, and from 1852 to 1854 
was a member of the Illinois State Assembly. Later he was 
appointed Justice of the Supreme Court in which he serv'^ed a 
few years, later retiring to his home in Belleville. 

Here he occupied himself in literary work becoming the 
author of History of Belleville, My Own Times, Pioneer 
History of Illinois, and Sketches of the Country on the North 
Route from Belleville, Illinois. 

His home still stands at 110 North Illinois Street, just south 
of the Renner-Geminn Funeral Home. It is of comfortable 
proportion, a two story brick of sturdy and enduring construc- 
tion. This residence has defied time, and recently it was 
marked with a copper memorial tablet which bears the follow- 
ing inscription: "Jot^^ Reynolds, Governor of Illinois, 1830 
to 1834, resided here." J. Nick Perrin, a local historian, was 
given the honor of placing the tablet there. 

Joseph Scott, another early American settler, came here at 
the age of seventeen from Virginia. He helped to build the 
home of George Blair, on the present site of the Elks Club. 
In 1811 he and a companion went into the wilderness of 
Missouri looking for saltpeter then used in making gun powder. 
This trip took all winter but they came back with 400 pounds 


of saltpeter. He then built a gun-powder mill on his farm, 
which supplied enough for all his neighbors. His powder gained 
a wide reputation for it was said to be powerful enough to 
kill the devil. 

William H. Bissell, of whom this community is proud, was 
born near Cooperstown, New York, on April 25, 1811. His 
parents were poor, but he managed to attend the public schools, 
later to graduate from the Philadelphia Medical College in 
1835 and the Transylvania University at Lexington, Kentucky, 
in 1844. He moved to Illinois in 1836 and began the practice 
of medicine in Monroe County. 

In appearance he was of average height, finely proportioned, 
and bore himself with becoming dignity. He was frank, open, 
and prepossessing, with dark and overhanging eyebrows. 
In manner he was exceedingly courteous, and his conversations 
\^•ere animated and interesting. He was a kind and affectionate 
husband and father, a splendid citizen, a staunch friend, and a 
devoted and sincere believer in immortality. 

He volunteered in the Mexican War as a private and joined 
Company G, of the 2nd Regiment. By June, 1846 he had 
attained the rank of Colonel and as such won distinction in 
the battle of Buena Vista. 

He was elected to Congress in 1850 and served three terms. 
While there he was challenged to a duel by Jefferson Davis 
after a heated exchange of words respecting the relative courage 
of the northern and southern soldiers in the Mexican War. 
Mr. Davis' friends however, objected to the duel and it never 
occurred. With the ex-piration of his third congressional term 
he had hoped to retire from politics, but the Republican State 
Convention at Bloomington in 1856 selected him to head 
their ticket as Governor of Illinois. Heretofore he had been a 
Democrat, but he consented to run as a Republican and led 
the state ticket to victory, giving a Bellevillian the honor of 
being the first Republican Governor of Illinois. He defeated 


his Democratic opponent, Richardson, by 5,000 votes, but he 
was unfortunate to have had a Democratic legislature. Beina 
partially paralized in his lower limbs, his inauguration as 
governor took place in the Executive Mansion on January 12, 
1857, attended only by his immediate family and a few friends. 
Ten months before his term ended, he contracted a cold which 
later developed into pneumonia. This caused his death on 
March 18, 1860, in his 49th year. 

Mrs. Elizabeth Bissell, his widow, continued to reside in 
Springfield until 1863. In that year she moved back to Belleville 
and died here in 1865. She was buried in Oak Ridge Cemetery, 
in Springfield, by the side of her husband. 

On June 21, 1917, the Belleville Chapter of Daughters of 
the American Revolution placed a bronze tablet in the main 
building of the Belleville Township High School commemorat- 
ing the three Governors, Edwards, Reynolds, and Bissell, and 
the two Lieutenant-Governors, Kinney and Koerner, who had 
been local residents and who had contributed so much, not 
only to the state, but to the nation as well. 

Two other men worthy of mention are Colonel Phillip B. 
Fouke and Colonel James L. D. Morrison, better known as 
Don Morrison. The first one became United States Congress- 
man succeeding Bissell, while the latter, a rival of Bissell, 
sacrificed his political future by refusing to repudiate slavery. 
He was nevertheless a good soldier, an able lawyer, and a 
magnetic speaker. 

Lyman Trumbull too, has his place in our history. He was 
born at Colchester, Connecticut, on October 12, 1813, but 
moved to Georgia, where he became a school teacher and 
where he learned to hate slavery. He decided to move north, 
which he did in 1837, riding horseback all the way. He and 
Governor Reynolds formed a law partnership. Although a 
successful debater, he was never recognized as an outstanding 
orator. He was an untiring worker, and possessed the ability 


to concentrate, but did not find pleasure in social life, remaining 
rather aloof in manner. 

His ability was never questioned, and he grew in statesman- 
like stature as time went on. 

Entering politics in 1840, he was elected as a representative 
to our General Assembly. In 1841 he was named Secretary of 
State and sen'ed as such until 1843. From 1848 to 1853 he served 
as a Justice of the State Supreme Court, and in 1855 entered 
the race for the United States Senate. Senator Shield's term 
was about to expire and it was believed that he could not be 
re-elected for he had voted in favor of the Kansas-Nebraska 
Bill. Trumbull, his opponent, won because the anti-Nebraska 
Democrats and Whigs joined to elect him. He ser\'ed as our 
Senator for a period of eighteen years, 1855 to 1873, and was 
regarded as one of the ablest statesmen during the Civil War 
and Reconstruction Period. He served also on the Senate 
Judiciary Committee where he was perhaps more influential 
in shaping legislation on war and reconstruction than any other 
Senator. In 1864 he introduced a resolution into Congress that 
later became the 13th amendment to the United States Con- 
stitution, which abolished the last remaining remnant of slavery 
throughout the United States. 

In 1872 he was proposed for the Liberal Republican nomina- 
tion for President. However, when this failed he completed his 
term in the United States Senate, after which he moved 
to Chicago and again practiced law and remained active 
in that profession until his death on June 25, 1896. Unpreten- 
tious and scholarlv, he was one of our outstanding lawyers and 
statesmen, failing to reach greater political heigths only because 
he lacked popular appeal. His home in Belleville was on South 
High Street. 

Nathaniel Niles, who came to Belleville in 1842, was born 
in Oswego County, New York, February 4, 1877. He soon 
distinguished himself as an editor, lawyer, and military leader. 


He was one of the founders of the RepuWican party in Southern 
Ilhnois and was editor of the Daily Advocate from 1851 to 

He enlisted in the Mexican War, 1846, fought in the battle 
of Buena Vista under General Taylor, and rose to the rank of 
Captain. Again in the Civil War he fought under Grant at 
Vicksburg and later represented our county at Springfield. He 
died on September 16, 1900, and was buried in Walnut Hill 
Cemetery. His friend of long standing, Jehu Baker, delivered 
his funeral oration. 

Two brothers who became well-known here were William 
H. and Joseph B. Underwood. Both were very able lawyers, 
but William gained greater prominence. William was bom in 
Schoharie County, New York, February 21, 1818. His am- 
bitions urged him to go West where opportunities then seemed 
greater. In 1841 he was elected District Attorney and was re- 
elected in 1843. In 1848 he was elected Judge of the Circuit 
Court and in 1856 became State Senator to which office he 
was re-elected in 1860 and again in 1870. While in the Illinois 
Senate he was one of its most industrious members never missing 
a single day's session, never missing a committee meeting, and 
holding a holy terror for special legislation, always working hard 
to defeat it. In 1870 he was also elected a delegate to our state 
constitutional convention and later was the author of Under- 
wood's Annotated Statutes of Illinois, in two volumes. He was 
an able debater, possessing fine literary talents. He was well 
informed in political economy and was regarded as a most 
estimable gentleman. He died on September 23, 1875, at his 
residence on Abend street. 

Two men who are sometimes referred to as "The Two Fathers 
of our City," were Mr. James Mitchell and Mr. John Dennis. 
In 1821 Mr. Mitchell was appointed Justice of the Peace and 
was our Postmaster for many years. Mr. Dennis taught school 
for forty years, teaching nearly all the youth of his day. In 


1862 he became the School Commissioner for St. Clair County 
and installed new life, vigor, and efficiency in the whole public 
school system. 

James P. Slade was born in 1832 and became one of our 
leading educators. In 1863 he was elected principal of Belleville 
High School located in the Odd Fellows Building, now the 
Lincoln Hotel. He was our eleventh County Superintendent 
and served in that capacity for three terms. In 1869 he was 
elected vice-president of our State Teachers' Association and in 
the same year he was appointed a Trustee to our State Univer- 
sity. In 1873 he was made a member of the Shurtleff College 
Board of Examiners. In 1876 he was elected Treasurer of our 
State Teachers' Association and also State Superintendent of 
Public Instruction. He was re-elected to the latter office in 
1880 and in 1883 was appointed President of Almira College 
in Granville, 111., which position he filled as soon as his second 
term expired. He served in this capacity until 1890 when he was 
appointed Superintendent of the Public Schools of East St. 
Louis. He died in that city in 1908 at the age of 76 years. 

John B, Hay, born January 8, 1834, was a native-bom 
Bellevillian. His boyhood home stood where our City Hall 
now stands. His father was a storekeeper, and not being very 
prosperous, the children had to earn their own living as much 
as possible. 

His career started in a printing office, where he learned the 
printing trade and studied law at the same time. In 1851 he 
was admitted to the bar. After editing the St. Clair Tribune for 
six months he gave it up for it proved unprofitable. He married 
Maria Hinckley of Belleville on October 16, 1857. 

He had received a liberal education and was quite a 
classical scholar. His penmanship was perfect and because of 
it, he was emploved wherever good penmanship was a requisite. 
He soon became the undisputed writer of wills and contracts, 
and it was characteristic that nearly all of these were identical. 


because as it was said, "If you are honest, a will can be written 
only one way." His honesty was such that never a finger of 
suspicion was pointed at him. He walked through life with his 
head erect and looked every man squarely in the eye. He was 
always courteous and polite and conducted himself with the 
grace and dignity that is so often an accomplishment of the 
men of the South. 

In 1860 he was a delegate to the Republican State Conven- 
tion at Decatur, where he helped declare Illinois for Lincoln as 
president. He had been elected State's Attorney in 1856, an of- 
fice to which he was re-elected in 1864. In 1870 he was elected 
to Congress, but was defeated in 1872 and in 1880 by small 
majorities. In 1881 he was appointed Postmaster of Belleville 
by President Garfield. In 1886 he was elected County Judge, 
and in 1901 was honored by being elected Mayor of Belleville. 
In 1902 and 1906 he was again elected County Judge. 

He died at the home of his son in Chicago, on June 29, 
1916. His body was sent here for burial. Services were held 
on July 2 at the Court House where his life-long friend Cyrus 
Thompson delivered the eulogy after which his body was laid 
to rest in Green Mount Cemetery. 

Another man worthy of mention is Colonel John Thomas. 
He was at various times Colonel of the first state militia of 
Illinois, Colonel of a regiment in the Black Hawk War, a State 
Representative, and later a State Senator. He was the grand- 
father of our present State Senator John Thomas, and was 
at one time regared as the wealthiest land owner in St. Clair 

James Shields was born in Ireland May 12, 1806. In 1822 
he sailed from Liverpool for Quebec but was shipwrecked off 
the coast of Scotland. Here he earned money as a tutor and 
again started out in 1826, this time making the journey safely. 
From Quebec he migrated southward finally settling at Kas- 
kaskia, from whence he moved to Belleville, where he practiced 


law, entered politics, and became a soldier in the Black 
Hawk, Mexican, and Civil Wars. In political life he accom- 
plished the seemingly impossible for he represented at one 
time or another, three states, Illinois Minnesota, and Missouri, 
in the United States Senate. While in Illinois he was a member 
of the General Assembly, was State Auditor, Justice of the 
Supreme Court, Land Commissioner, and United States Senator 
in 1849. 

Shields later moved to Minnesota where he encouraged the 
setthng of the Irish in St. Paul. When Minnesota became a 
state in 1859 Shields was elected one of its United States 

After the Civil War, 1866, he moved to Missouri and served 
out an unexpired term as United States Senator, January 27, 
1879 to March 3, 1879, but ill health forced him to retire from 
politics. His death occurred June I, 1879, and he was buried at 
Carrolton, Mo. All three states have since honored him with 
a statue or memorial. 

Jehu Baker was born November 4, 1822, the son of William 
and Margaret Baker, who came to this country when Jehu was 
only seven years old. They settled on a farm near Lebanon 
where Jehu attended the public schools and McKendree College. 
Upon graduating he moved to Belleville where he became a 
noted linguist, for he could translate French, German, Spanish, 
and Italian with ease. His English edition of Montesque's 
Grandeur and Decadence of the Romans is regarded as an 
authoritative work. He was admitted to the bar in 1846, was 
Master in Chancery of St. Clair County, 1861 to 1865, was 
elected to Congress as a Republican in 1864, and served as 
United States Minister to Venezuela from 1876 to 1885. He 
was returned to Congress again in 1886 and 1896. He died 
on March 1, 1903, at his home, 218 South High, at the age of 
81 and was buried in Green Mount Cemetery. 

Other early American setders were J. S. Ferryman, E. W. 


Primm, D. Rentchler, J. T. Ward, W. C. Buchanan, Thomas 
Harrison, J. M. Hay, Charles Gooding, James II. and Felix 
Scott, Joseph Griffen, John Hinchcliife (who wrote a history 
of Belleville), J. W. Hughes, Peter Dunn, Adam, Elijah, and 
H. S. Badgley, and W. J. Wilderman. 


The German immigration to St. Clair County began in 
1826 when two German families settled here, and by 1830 these 
were followed by the first great influx of German immigrants. 
Before this time the French and English languages were pre- 
dominant, but with the coming of the Germans came a change 
in speech. It was this German element that perhaps has 
contributed most to the material and cultural growth of our 

Germany was at that time in a state of political unrest, 
which culminated in the Revolution of 1830 and its later op- 
pression. The revolutionists lost and had to flee their country^ 
and that brought to our country some of the most liberal and 
best thinking Germans. For the most part they were students. 
They came here because they were attracted by the liberal 
policy of our young republic. Then too, they found inviting 
homes on the virgin soil of our midwestern prairies, although 
their former habits and education fitted them more for polished 
city life than for the toils and struggle of the frontier. 

Among them were lawyers, public officials, school teachers, 
clergymen, merchants, and wealthy farmers. Many had been 
forced to flee for their lives and all were disgusted with the 
reactionary forces that had been turned loose upon them in 
their homeland. 

The naturalization list of our county from 1836 to 1844 
was overwhelmingly German. Among them were such names 
as Koerner, Hilgard, Eckert, Scheel, Abend, Engelmann, Raab, 
Bunsen, Bomman, Busse, Obermueller, Ackerman, Knobeloch, 
Mueller, Ensminger, Mohr, Heimburger, Joseph, Scheel, Knab, 


Daab, Rentchler and many others. 

Well can we marvel at the courage of the immigrant who 
came from Europe when we consider what an ordeal an ocean 
voyage was in those days. Delays on the ocean for the sail boats 
were coundess due to the shifting winds, duties on baggage were 
heavy, and there seemed to have been little or no respect ior 
personal comfort and hygienic conditions on the ship. Many 
persons became very ill due to the small size of the ship and 
its crowded condition, which made ocean travel most unpleasant. 
Many adults died from, and small children seldom survived, 
the hardships of such a voyage. 

The voyage from Rotterdam to Philadelphia cost $80 per 
person. Those who could not pay for their trip practically sold 
themselves into slavery for they could not leave the ship until 
bought by some purchaser and the money turned over to the 
captain of the ship. 

It took some of them years to regain their freedom. Adults 
served for three or four years; children, between the ages of 
ten to fifteen, sensed until they were twenty-one. Many parents 
had to sell their children to pay their passage. In this way many 
families were separated and scattered in their new found 

Belleville, by the year 1855, had a population of over 6,000 
and began to look like a t^'pical German village with its German 
signs and its German beer gardens. Many homes were furnished 
with furniture brought from Germany and the method of living 
was still like that in the home country. 

The German pioneers had not intended to perpetuate German- 
ism on American soil in the false hope that some one state 
or many communities in a state would become a German oasis, 
or even a new Germany. The grouping together of so many 
similar elements with such a small admixture of America natural- 
ly tended to continue the use of the German language and of 
German culture. 


The Germans loved their new home and the Hberty that it 
offered them. This was shown by their participation in the 
celebration of the Fourth of July in 1843. They were the first 
to erect a liberty pole on the Public Square and it was the 
tallest ever put up, so tall that it had to be spliced in two places 
and stood well over 100 feet in height. 

The industrious Germans have also been noted for their 
"gemnudichkeit." The Belleville Public Library is an outgrowth 
of the German Library Society formed in 1836. The "Saeng- 
erbund," another cultural society, was organized here in 1853 
as was also the "Liebhaber Theatre Group." Later there were 
other musical groups, the Liederkranz and the Kronthal- 

The German immigrants were patriotic and liberty-loving 
and had their first chance to prove it during the Civil War. 
Most of the Germans in our city were passionately on the side 
of Lincoln and many volunteered and served their country 
throughout the war. On the whole, the Germans prospered, 
many becoming more than just well-to-do. There was a well 
known saying at that time which was, "He who comes to 
America poor becomes rich; who comes to America rich becomes 
poor." The poor knew how to save and make every dollar count 
and they were often more successful in business. 

Although our city had been predominately German since 1830 
it has in recent years become more cosmopolitan in character. 
The census of 1930 showed that only 58% of our people were 
of German extraction and that many other nationalities had been 
added to our population. It is a fact, however, that until the 
turn of the present century more German was spoken here than 
any other language and there were srill pastors preaching in 
the German language. It was the first World War, 1914-1918, 
that brought about the final change. It was the German element, 
perhaps more than any others, that gave our city its sound, 
conservative business and civic practices. These have always 
been sufficiently developed to meet the normal demands, but 


never to the extent of luring speculation. As a whole, our 
people are honest, industrious, and thrifty. Not many have 
accumulated vast fortunes but most of our people have always 
owned their own homes and through the practice of thrift have 
guaranteed themselves independence during old age. Such 
characteristics as these have made our city stable and assured 
us a normal steady growth. 

George Bunsen, an outstanding educator, was born in Frank- 
fort, Germany, February 18, 1794. He attended the schools 
of that city, entered the University of Berlin in 1812, and was 
in the German Army that helped defeat Napoleon at Waterloo 
in 1815. He continued his studies under Father Pestalozzi in 
Switzerland and then opened a boys' school in Frankfort and 
many a person of that city owed to him the foundation of 
their culture. 

When the Revolution of 1833 broke out he again took a part 
in the war, but happened to be on the losing side. He hurriedly 
sold all of his property including his school which was bought 
by a man named Stellwagen and his home was turned into a 
hospital for cholera sufferers. He then joined the Geissener 
Immigration Association as a teacher of the children. For pay, 
he was to receive transportation for himself and his family 
to America and 160 acres of land in the new world. The associa- 
tion landed at New Orleans on June 3, 1834. A disagreement 
with the association caused Mr. Bunsen to break his contract 
with them. He paid for his transportation and immediately came 
to St. Louis by boat. His friends soon advised him how he could 
obtain rich land near Shiloh from the government and he was 
soon the proud owner of a 360-acre farm near our city. 

For a cultured man to be obliged to till the soil would have 
been a very hard task for many men, but not for Mr. Bunsen. 
It was said that he went about his work with an earnestness 
that would have been a credit to any of his neighbors who had 
been tilling the soil for many years. 


He married Sophie Le Coq who was a descendant of the 
famous German engraver Chodowiecki. To this union was born 
nine children, six sons and three daughters. In 1847 he was 
elected a member of the State Constitutional Convention which 
drew up the constitution that was adopted by the state of Illinois, 
on March 6, 1848. From 1855-1859 he served as County Super- 
intendent of Schools. In 1856 Governor Mattison appointed 
him a member of the State Board of Education whose duty 
it was to establish the first normal school in the state which later 
became Normal University, Bloomington, Illinois. In 1857 he 
moved to Belleville where he opened a model school and began 
propounding to the young Americans the principle of the great 
educator Pestalozzi. In 1859 to 1872 he was a director on the 
city Board of Education, remaining a member of that until 
his death on October 3, 1872, at the age of 78. When he died 
all teachers and students showed their love and respect bv 
dimissing school and attending his funeral. The newspaper 
accounts telling of his death were all headed "Father Bunsen." 
This alone shows the esteem in which he was held by the 
citizens of our city. No further eulogy need be given except 
to say that he was a devout Christian, a great teacher, and a 
lovable character. He was buried behind the Chapel in Walnut 
Hill Cemetery. 

Another prominent immigrant, Henry Raab, was born in 
the city of Wetzler, Germany, June 20, 1837, educated in his 
native city, came to America, and settled in our city in 1854. 
He received work as a night clerk in a distillery on West Main, 
became interested in education, and entered the teaching 
profession. He married Miss Matilda Von Lengerke, a native 
of Hanover, Germany, in 1859. To this union were born five 

After retiring, he spent his last years in writing on educational 
subjects. He wrote a history of the local schools and will be 
long remembered for his work as an educator here and 
throughout the state of Illinois. He had been connected with 


the local education system for thirty-six years and was State 
Superintendent of Schools in 1883-87 and again in 1891-95. 

Jacob Brosius was bom in Cronberg, Germany, February 27, 
1824, and came to America in 1849. He had been well educated 
in mathematics and mechanics, and as soon as he arrived in 
our city he was determined to engage in farming. He soon 
formed a partnership with Jacob Geist and began operating 
a foundry for the manufacture of agricultural implements and 
soon began to prosper. When the new Court House was built 
he received the contract to furnish all the iron work which 
included the old iron stairs and the threshhold of the doors. 
These are still in the old part of the County Capital today. 

In 1876 he built a palatial home at 735 East Main Street, 
known as the Cron-thal, and was the first to live in it. It is 
remembered today as the homestead of the late Frank N. 
Perrin. Brosius also built next to it, at 763 East Main, the first 
power plant in this city. He had two ponds which extended 
to where the Douglas School is now located and these supplied 
the water for the steam engine which furnished the necessary 
power. At the peak of the Cron-thal, which was built on the 
plan of the castle at Cronberg, Germany, from which place 
Bronsius emigrated, was erected a search-light, which illumi- 
nated the Public Square of that day in the '80's. Later he 
furnished light for that part of the city east of the square by 
means of a carbon lamp which t\^e of lamp continued to light 
the streets of our city until about 1910. 

In 1879 he became interested in a central heating plant and 
in the winter of 1880-1881 his plant furnished steam to fifty- 
five places in Belleville. 

In 1886 Brosius started an oil refining plant on what is now 
Mascoutah Avenue, near East Main Street, and is at present 
occupied by the repair department of the Herman G. Wangelin 
garage. The entire plant and machinery were built under his 
direction and were declared at the time to have been most 


modern in construction. Here he invented a clear cold-pressed 
castor oil, a product pressed from castor beans by machinery 
which for a time he kept a secret. 

The process was soon discovered, however, and came into 
general use throughout the country. He died on July 1, 1882, 
at the age of 58 and was buried in Walnut Hill Cemetery. 

There was a great stir in the little town of Zweibrucken in 
1830, when it became known that Theodore Hilgard, a justice 
of the Court of Appeals in that little city, had decided to 
abandon his assured legal career to emigrate to the United 
States. He was forty years of age and had a wife and nine 
children. What was even more striking was that his decision 
was due simply and solely to an intellectual conviction that 
life in as reactionary a country as Germany was so stifling as 
to be unbearable. He was in addition a confirmed Democrat 
and believer in Republican institutions with an ardor hardly 
in keeping with a judicial career. 

It actually took him five years to make the break with a life 
marked by such honorable circumstances. His leave-taking was 
made harder by a farewell banquet given him by his city. His 
sound knowledge, his courage and ability in public relations, 
his fine stand as a civil leader, his high ethical standards, as 
an inscription at the banquet read, will be his passport and his 
security in every hemisphere. The "Landrath" in Zweibrucken, 
that is the provincial assembly, recorded on the judge's resigna- 
tion that his loss was almost irreplaceable and spoke of his 
model character and numerous talents. 

There being no railroads this large family embarked in tv\?o 
wagons, with one man servant, for Havre, France, which they 
reached safely in the short period of eight days. They sailed 
on October 22, 1835, for New Orleans, a voyage of no less then 
sixty-three days in an American ship which duly transferred 
them to a little Mississippi River steamer. When they reached 
St. Louis, then a city of 10,000 people, they had been more 


than three and one half months on the way from Germany. 
They at once crossed the Mississippi to settle in Belleville, 
where they joined those who had made this community famous 
because of the high attainments and standing of so many of 
its members. He bought a two hundred-acre farm between 
Belleville and East St. Louis just west of Richland Creek and 
here joined a group known as the Latin Peasants but who were 
really neither Latin or Peasants, but a group of intellectuals 
who had attended German universities and knew Latin and 
Greek. Among them were doctors, lawyers, judges, teachers, 
businessmen, and noblemen. Of these, the noblemen proved 
to be the least efficient and successful of the whole colony 
because they were unaccustomed to hard labor and were 
imbued with so many social prejudices that thev could not 
adjust themselves. 

Our community was then a village of about five hundred 
people. Hilgard noticed that homes here were not as large nor 
as comfortable as those in Germany. Of this he complained to 
his friends, but added that everyone seemed to ha\'e at least 
one or more riding horses which more than made up for the 
lack of other conveniences. 

Twenty feet from his home he had one acre fenced for his 
garden. The garden had beautiful shade trees which made it 
look like an English park. The garden was in front of the 
house, to the right an orchard, in the back a yard, and on the 
left could be seen the village of Belleville. 

People soon asked to buy some of his land along the 
St. Louis Road for building purposes. He then laid off some 
of his land into lots of 50x100 and sold them for fifty dollars 
each. By 1858 he had sold 552 of them and they formed what 
was known as West Belleville. 

On the morning of December 6, 1847, part of the brewery 
owned by Jacob Fleischbein burned. Firemen were able to 
save only the lower part of it but his loss was felt so keenly by 


West Belleville that as soon as the fire had been put out 
someone proposed that they rebuild the plant so that the 
owner's business might not suffer. This the workers agreed 
to do and they did the work and the business men furnished 
the lumber, all without cost to the owner. In twenty-four hours 
the building was complete again and a collection taken to 
compensate the owner for his additional losses. 

Friedrich Engelmann bought a farm five miles east of 
Belleville and there really lived a patriarchial life with his 
wife and eight children. Some had won a high position in the 
community which was due mostly to the fact that they faced 
the country with full and grateful hearts and had gladly accepted 
the very great difficulties and hardships with which they had 
at first to contend as a not unreasonable price to pay for free- 
dom and the advantage of life in America. 

Frederich Hecker was one of the German intellectual im- 
migrants that succeeded as a farmer. He knew nothing about 
breaking in new land except that they chose the highlands 
which were not swampy and free from chills and fever. 

In 1818 the first German mechanics arrived and at once 
began to make a living at their trade. Schmidt, Small, and 
Bomman were blacksmiths and their descendants still live 
here. Mr. Conrad Bornman, however, became the most success- 
ful of them. Like most of the German settlers, he could hardly 
speak any English. He soon gave up the blacksmith trade and 
learned to make and lay brick instead. He was honest, wdlling 
to learn, and a hard worker, and he soon became wealthy in 
his new vocations. He became widely known because of his 
irreprochable character. Bornman is believed to have been the 
first German to settle in this city. 

In 1833, a German named Edward Abend, arrived here and 
in time became one of our most successful citizens. He was 
born in Mamheim, Germany, on May 30, 1822, and came to 


America with his family ten years later. 

Upon their arrival in St. Louis the Asiatic Cholera was raging 
and the father and two children died of that disease. The 
mother, with the remaining five children, then setded on a 
farm near Shiloh, Illinois, where they had friends. Here they 
remained several years before finally moving to Belleville. 

Young Abend received his education in the subscription 
schools and at McKendree College. Upon graduating, he studied 
law in the offices of Lyman and George Trumbull and was 
admitted to the bar in 1842. 

In 1849 he was elected to the state legislature and was 
selected as one of our country's representatives on the Demo- 
cratic ticket. 

He foresaw that there was a greater future for him in business 
than in politics, and he devoted himself, heart and soul, in 
various business enterprises. 

He was instrumental in the building of the first toll road 
to St. Louis, which was later known as the St. Louis Turnpike. 
He was the first president of our street railway, also of the Belle- 
ville Water Company, which he helped organize in 1856 and 
the Belleville Savings Bank which he and others organized in 

Because of his ability and faithfulness to duty, he enjoyed 
the confidence and respect of the people of this vicinity. They 
elected him mayor for three terms, an office he filled with 
credit to himself in 1851, 1857, and 1858. He died on June 
17, 1904, and was buried on June 19 in Walnut Hill Ceme- 

Prior to 1877, the mayor's term of office was but for one 
year, necessitating an annual election. But in 1877 the Legis- 
lature amended the General Law, changing their tenure to two 
years. In those early days it was considered an honor to serve 
as mayor; however, it was anything but lucrative. In 1854 the 
salary of the mayor amounted to two hundred dollars annually. 


In 1875 it was increased to six hundred dollars, but was 
reduced to five hundred in 1881. Since then it has increased 
until today it is $4000, and the tenure is for four years. 

Peter Wilding, who came to Belleville in 1839 from Imsbach, 
Rhenish Bavaria, Germany, where he was born on November 
1, 1817, succeeded Edward Abend as mayor in 1859, and was re- 
elected again in 1 860. He was commonly referred to as "Honest 
Peter Wilding." His second administration came at a time when 
political feelings were running high, and when the country 
was unhappily divided on the slavery question. Along with 
men like James W. Hughes, Governor Reynolds, J. L. D. 
Morrison, and a number of other prominent Bellevilleans, Peter 
Wilding was not only a Democrat, but throughout those tur- 
bulent davs, he remained one. Like the others, he was a 
states' rights advocate and he was definitely opposed to the 
agitation against slavery in the North, and he did not hesitate 
to say so. Entertaining such convictions, and being exposed 
because of them he was forced by public opinion to resign as 
mayor, which he did in June, 1860, just three months after 
having won the election. Two sympathetic aldermen, Simon 
Eimer and John Bieser, resigned with him. However, after the 
Civil War had ended, and after its bitterness and hatreds had 
been forgotten, he was again thrice elected as mayor, 1871, 
1875, and 1879. He guarded the city's finances as carefully 
as he did his own, usually entering office with the city saddled 
with debt, and leaving it with its books balanced or its debt 
greatly reduced. 

After a lingering illness he died on July 10, 1881, and 
was buried in Walnut Hill Cemetery, within a stone's 
throw of the graves of five other pioneer mayors, namely: 
Charles Palme, Edward Abend, Henry Kircher, Herman G. 
Weber, and Louis Bartel. 

Other later German pioneers were William C. Kueffner, 
Dr. George Loelkes, Charles Merck, Joseph Leopold, William 


Althoff, Col. Casimier Andel, Julius Bischoff, Martin Braun- 
ersreuther, father of Commadore William Braunersreuther, 
Frederick Kempff, father of Rear Admiral Louis Kempff, 
Joseph Gruenwald, Bernard Hartman, August C. Hucke, 
George Herr, Henry A. Kircher, Henry Kuhn, Adam Karr, Sr., 
August Lentz, John Maus, Henry Reis, Michael Reis, Frank 
Renner, Dr. Ferdinand Rubach, Dr. Louis Starkel, Sr., Herman 
G. Weber, William Winkelmann, George L. Neuhoff, Herman 
and Henry Knoebel, Theodore Dauth, A. G. Fleischbein, 
Fred E. Scheel, Solomon Mueller, O. F. Schoot, William Fried- 
lander, and Louis and Philip Huff. 


The Growth of Our City 



n the old days, traveling was done in hacks or carriages, 
usually pulled by four horses. The roads were very poor, 
especially in the spring and fall at which time of the year they 
seemed to be bottomless. A traditional story tells of a man, who 
traveling from Belleville to St. Louis on horseback, and upon 
reaching that part of the road below the Bluffs, saw a man's hat 
on the ground in the middle of the road. Stopping his horse, he 
got off to pick it up, only to discover there was a live man's 
head under it, who at once informed him that he was still quite 
all right, but that beneath him was a wagon and two horses and 
they were in a bad fix. 

The fourteen mile trip to St. Louis, especially that part of the 
journey below the Bluffs was a trying undertaking. In 1844 
the people, greatly disturbed about it, held a mass meeting at 
the Court House. Here a traffic survey made by Mr. Enoch 
Lucky was presented in which he reported that every day 175 
to 200 teams went from Belleville to St. Louis and that 300 
teams crossed by ferry to St. Louis daily. 

The first ferry to operate across the Mississippi was built by 
Captain James Piggot in the year 1 797. It was a simple railed-in 
platform supported on log canoes and propelled by slaves by 
means of poles and long sweeps. 

The famed Wiggins Ferry Company was organized in 1818. 


By 1828 the ferries operated faster and the service was much 
improved, because now they were steam propelled, but never- 
theless the service depended much on the whims of the river and 
the weather. Western mail was often delayed for days in 
Illinois, due to the antics of the Mississippi, which cut us off 
from its western shore. Also, in winter when the river was fro- 
zen, or partly frozen, or jammed with ice, or sometimes beset 
with tiny icebergs, the ferry could not run. Then again steam 
boats paddled their way from St. Louis to the foot of our Bluffs 
at Edgemont during the flood of 1844. In the winter of 1856 the 
river at St. Louis was so completely frozen over with sufficiently 
thick ice that the heaviest teams could travel as on a macada- 
mized road. 

John Reynolds owned a large tract of land below the Bluffs, 
in the vicinity of Edgemont, only six miles from St. Louis. This 
land was underlaid with coal, and Governor Reynolds, shrewd 
businessman that he was, knew this, so the Old Ranger, as he 
was often called, couldn't rest until he found a way of transport- 
ing his hidden wealth to the market. He, therefore, decided on 
building a railroad to the Mississippi River. 

This railroad, the first to be built in the Mississippi Valley, 
was operated by means of horse power. It had wooden rails with 
straps of iron over the top. The road bed was graded, a lake 
was bridged, and within one season, 1837, this line was deliver- 
ing coal to East St. Louis, then known as Illinois Town. 

The track was improved later when iron rails were 
brought by boat, via the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. On their 
arrival, holes were punched into them by the blacksmiths of 
this neighborhood, who also made the spikes with which to nail 
them on the wooden ties. This greatly improved the services 
and more freight and passengers were carried every year. In 
1862 an average of three hundred passengers per day traveled 
the road. In 1859 it carried 182,184 barrels of flour; in 1862, 
65 car loads of coal daily; and in 1869, 305,358 tons of coal 


and 344,151 tons of other freight. 

The second railroad established here was the Belleville and 
Southern Illinois Railroad. Old-timers knew it as the St. Louis, 
Alton and Terre Haute system, but later it was known as the 
Cairo Short Line. Today it is part of the Illinois Central Rail- 
road System. 

Since early transportation was so dependent on the roads, and 
with so many people living in the outlying communities, it 
became necessary to find ways and means of improving these 
roads. This resulted in the building of the first plank road in 
1852. Farmers could now come to town in an hour or two 
drawing full loads, while formerly they encountered much 
difficulty even to get here with an empt)' wagon. Better roads 
greatly increased business and people began to realize that the 
most valuable business investment for the community was an 
expenditure for better roads. 

With greatly improved transportation facilities, business in 
Belleville increased to such an extent that there followed a 
demand for passenger ser\ace to and from St. Louis. In 1848 
stage coach service to St. Louis went into effect. It left right 
after breakfast, from Mr. Winter's Hotel, now called the 
Belleville House, and left St. Louis at 2 p. m. from Mr. Finch's 
City Lunch or, if ordered in time, from any other place in that 

This new line soon became so prosperous that competing lines 
were established and rate wars began to be the favorite sport 
of the drivers. A new firm in 1852 cut the single fare to 
twenty-five cents upon where the old line angrily cut its fare 
to ten cents. In 1854 both reduced it to five cents. Improve- 
ments in the service were also made, one company even going 
so far as to substitute horses for mules, and heavy coaches for 
lighter ones, and making the round trip in three hours instead 
of taking all day. 

The first express service to St. Louis began in 1854 when 


Jacob Fouke started daily afternoon passenger and express serv- 
ice, returning the same day. 

The increased demand for over-land transportation now led to 
a general improvement of roads. The macadamized system of 
road building, named after McAdam, its inventor, was nothing 
more than crushed rock held together with various binding 
compounds, usually tar. It proved to be the better type road. The 
first of its kind ever to be built in Illinois extended from Belle- 
ville to St. Louis, a distance of fourteen miles. Before then it 
was almost impossible to have produce delivered to the market 
with any regularity from early fall to spring. The first rock 
road constituted a portion of our present highway 15 and was 
a section of the old Cahokia-Yincennes Post Road. It was the 
road travelled by the early settlers from St. Louis and the 
American Bottoms to Belleville. 

In 1847 the state legislature approved the building of this 
road to St. Louis, issued a charter to the St. Clair County 
Turnpike Companv, which was to construct the road and to call 
it the Rock Road. Work on it began in March, 1849, and in the 
year 1850 the stretch from the river to the Bluffs was graded and 
covered with rock. February, 1852, saw its completion to High 
Street in our city, at a total cost of $128,000. To cover its cost, 
toll gates were established and no one seemed to object. From 
the standpoint of business it practically placed our city on the 
banks of the Mississippi, making it a suburb of St. Louis. Resi- 
dents hurriedly built along the road until now the two cities. 
East St. Louis and Belleville, have joined each other at the foot 
of the bluffs. 

On June 12, 1902, the Belleville Turnpike, later knoun as 
the Belleville and East St. Louis Rock Road, was condemned 
in the city limits and its toll gates were ordered removed. Under 
state law, tolls could onlv be collected outside the limits of 
incorporated cities. The abolition of toll collection in the city 
was hailed with joy by the people. The toll rates had been as 


follows: bicycle, five cents; one-horse vehicle, twenty cents; 
two-horse vehicle, thirty cents. As the two cities expanded the 
toll limits continually shortened until by 1907 Edgemont was 
incorporated and the Turnpike began dying a rapid death. On 
December 10, 1910, the end came, for on that day the state 
ordered the Turnpike to vacate the Rock Road. 

The power of tradition is shown in the continued use of the 
name. Rock Road. On October 18, 1906, the city council 
changed the official name to West Main Street, but that 
seemed to make no difference to the people. They insisted that 
since 1850 it was the Rock Road and such it will always be to 

No bridge spanned the Mississippi River, at St. Louis, al- 
though traffic on both sides of it had become so heavy that one 
was badly needed. The Eads Bridge, the first vehicular and 
railroad bridge to span the river, was begun in 1869 and it was 
believed that it would multiply many times the advantages 
already found in our community. Agricultural producers would 
be much closer to the markets of the West, and Belleville 
would therefore be an adjunct to and a partner in the successful 
growth of the Empire City of the Mississippi Valley. Gustav 
Koerner was appointed as one of the attorney's for the bridge 
company to handle the land claims on this side of the river. The 
claims paid by the company amounted to several hundred 
thousand dollars and besides the claims, many legal questions 
had to be settled. The bridge was dedicated with fitting cere- 
monies on July 4, 1874, with President Grant the principal 

The first railroad to enter the heart of Belleville was the 
Louisville and Nashville, when its first train steamed into the 
cit\' in 1870. In that year also a road seven miles in length 
was built from Belleville to O'Fallon. Other railroads soon fol- 
lowed and today three main trunk lines pass through our city. 

When the first horse-drawn street car was introduced in July, 


1874, it was considered a major event and was celebrated with 
considerable ado. On the first day of its operation five bob-tail 
coaches were placed on the tracks at about 6 p.m. and free 
rides between East Belleville and West Belleville were given 
to ever\'body. The entire length of Main Street was gaily dec- 
orated on that auspicious occasion. Thousands of people gather- 
ed to witness the grand sight, for many of the younger ones 
had never seen, much less heard of, a street car. So eager was 
ever)'one to take a ride that a grand rush resulted, bringing 
with it many aching and sore feet, and much exhausted horse 

The Belleville City Railway, as the horse-car system was 
known, didn't prosper financially, and eventually, in 1876, it 
discontinued business, leaving the city without any service 
whatever. In 1884 another attempt at re-establishing it was 
made, with the result that it was again revived. By 1888 it had 
five tracks, costing $32,000, nine cars (five in daily use), 
twent)'-six horses, and employed fifteen men. H. A. Alexander 
was its manager. 

By late 1892 the old horse-drawn car was beginning to pass 
from the picture. On August 21, 1893, the first permit for 
electric railwav service was granted by the city council to the 
General Electric Company, giving them the right to lay tracks 
on Main Street from the western city limits, then known as 
Cleveland Avenue, to Douglas Avenue on East Main Street, and 
also on some other streets. Free rides were given on the 
opening day to all, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., with regular 
scheduled service beginning the next day. 

With all of the increased traffic, the old wooden bridge across 
the Richland Creek, on West Main Street, was doomed. It 
once marked the border line between Belleville and West 
Belleville, and it was the scene of many fights between rival 
factions in these communities. But it had seen its day and in 
1896 it was replaced by the first concrete bridge in the city. 


This was, of course, a radical departure from the usual type 
of construction, and some of the local "know-it-alls" were quite 
sure it wouldn't work. They were positive that as soon as the 
wooden forms were removed the concrete couldn't stand by 
itself. The bridge was designed by J. B. Strauss and when he 
removed the wooden forms the people were surprised that it 
stood by itself. It continued to do so until 1937 when it was 
torn out and the present one built. Mr. Strauss later supervised 
the building of the famous Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. 

After being in operation a number of years, the General Elec- 
tric Company sold its interests to John A. Day. Thereafter it 
was commonly known as the Day Line. Its first through car 
ran over the system on May 27, 1899. 

At that time the city limits of Belleville extended two miles 
in an east-west direction. East St. Louis and Belleville were still 
separated by a distance of 140 blocks and each city maintained 
its own railway system and both kept the Suburban Railway 
Company out of their respective cities. Pleasure trips on the 
early street cars, especially in the summer when open cars were 
used, were a regular Sunday afternoon or evening recreation 
and many trolley parties were given by individuals. 

John Day also owned two suburban lines in addition to the 
city line. On November 15, 1897, he organized a third company, 
the St. Louis and Belleville Interurban Railway Company, and 
began operating a line to East St. Louis in the summer of 1898. 
He had hoped to buy the old St. Clair County Turnpike, which 
was not in a strong financial condition at that time. However, 
the owners asked such an exhorbitant price that he proceeded 
instead to buy a right-of-way south of the turnpike, where he 
built the Day Line. Before this was completed, Tounsend and 
Reed, two Chicago promoters, arrived here and obtained the 
right-of-way of the turnpike between the two cities and began 
working on the Suburban Railway Line which, when com- 
pleted, ran on 40-minute schedules, but Day had the advantage 


in that he could issue transfers on his two hnes. 

These two rival companies operated between Belleville and 
East St. Louis until February, 1902, when a merger was effected 
between the East St. Louis, Belleville and Suburban Company. 
The new company became known as The East St. Louis and 
Suburban Railway Company. Clark Brothers of Philadelphia 
were its owners. 

George L. Phillips, a grocer of 5800 West Main, drove the 
first interurban electric car that entered our city, on June 14, 
1898. He was also a passenger on the last trolley to enter and 
leave our city on July 24, 1932, for it was on that day that the 
street cars were replaced by our modern bus service. Mr. Phillips 
had been a motorman on the old green cars for nine years and 
for purely sentimental reasons he arose at 3:00 a.m. for the 
last street car ride. He drove his automobile to Edgemont 
station, boarded the last car to come from St. Louis to Belleville, 
rode it back to Edgemont, and then got into his car again to 
drive back home and finish his night's sleep. 

The coming of the horseless carriage, or motor buggy, as it 
was often called, created excitement more than any event our 
city had experienced since the Civil War. Some of the people 
were fearsome of the grandfather of the modern automobile 
and some regarded the new-fangled contraption as a product 
of the devil, that would wreck the world. When they saw one 
coming along the street they shouted, "Look, here comes a 
motor buggy," which is just the reverse of today, for now when 
a horse appears on a street, they say, "look, here comes a horse." 
The automobile was here to stay and the old storm buggy, 
spring wagons, and horses began slowly to disappear. 

On September 21, 1899, Mr. A. Lambrecht and wife of St. 
Louis, visited our city in their automobile. The trip required 
one hour and was the first vehicle of its kind to make its appear- 
ance on our streets. 

Purchasers of automobiles in that day always got a thorough 


book of instructions with it. It told about the care, feeding, and 
operation of the buggy. Here is an example of the details it 
contained: When the motor develops a sudden knock on the 
road it is perhaps due to a burned-out bearing. The thing to 
do, is to stop the car at once and whittle a temporary bearing out 
of wood allowing the owner to get back to town where repairs 
could be made. 

Mr. Henry C. Deobald, local mechanic of 316 East Main 
Street, had the distinction at that time of being the only man 
in the world, who rode in an automobile built by himself. He 
had assembled every piece of machinery in this wonderful 
specimen of mechanical art, and in August, 1901, he traveled 
about our streets in a horseless carriage that was a product 
of his own mind and hands. It was considered a beautiful 
thing, for its panels were of maroon and scarlet, while the 
running gear was neatly striped black. It was six feet long, four 
feet high, and thirty inches wide, and was made entirely of 
metal. The body was made of sheet metal, lined with asbestos 
and coupled with pieces of angle iron which made it all the 
more substantial. The engine was beneath the seat and was 
of the steam type, always giving the driver a hot spot to sit on. 
It had two cylinders, was five horse-power, and the inventor 
contended that it would do fifty miles per hour. The water 
for the steam engine was heated by gasoline, while the gas 
tank had a capacity of five gallons and developed enough 
steam for a fifty-mile trip. The air tank was made of copper, 
and held forty pounds of pressure, which was used to force the 
gas from the tank to the generator where it supplied gas as fuel 
in making the steam. It took only four minutes to get enough 
steam to start the car. 

Early speed laws differed greatly from those of today. The 
city tax records of 1904 shows that we had four automobiles 
in our city. The city, therefore, passed a speed law allowing 
them to travel only ten miles per hour in business districts and 
fifteen miles per hour in residential districts. 


It was in 1909 that a local dairy with deserving pride, 
announced that it had bought the first auto delivery wagon in 
the city. Dealers in automobiles were slowly becoming more 
numerous and more varied. Even Sears, Roebuck sold them 
from 1896 to 1908, and their price was usually $1,000 without 
accessories. The electric automobile was the one preferred by 
the rich and the price range of these was anywhere from two 
to three thousand dollars. 

By 1915 the city council began regulating the cars due to 
their ever-growing numbers. A city ordinance was passed fixing 
the power of headlights so that they would not throw a beam 
of light more than thirty feet. In 1916 all cars were required 
by a city law to have red tail lights and in 1917, in order to 
avoid confusion, the city council insisted that all cars must keep 
to the right on the Public Square. On May 1, 1914, the city 
required every car owner to possess a city license, the cost, 
from four to ten dollars, depending on the horse-power of the 
car. In 1942 Belleville people owned 5459 pleasure cars and 
655 trucks. 

With the coming of the automobile came the demand for 
the paving of the Rock Road, and the greater the number of 
automobiles, the greater became the demand. The city ordinance 
providing for the paving of the Rock Road with concrete from 
the Southern crossing to Edgemont, a distance of five miles, 
was passed on January 5, 1915. It provided that the car tracks 
of the East St. Louis and Suburban Railroad be moved to the 
center of the roadway and that the company pave the center 
for a width of twenty-one feet with macadam and chat, flush 
with the street. It was estimated that the total cost of this 
improvement would be $322,000. 

On March 20, 1916, the actual work on that paving project 
began in Belleville, when Mayor R. E. Duvall, L. C. Harper 
of East St. Louis, and Phillip Reeb turned the first spadeful 
of earth. This undertaking had been a vital question in Belle- 


ville for years and about 150 people attended the ceremony. 
Reverend C. R. Hempel, then pastor of the Christ Evangelical 
Church, invoked the divine blessing on the occasion. 

On October 30, 1917, the Rock Road was completely paved 
with concrete and was regarded as having been the biggest 
single improvement ever undertaken by any Southern Illinois 
city up to that time. Because the material was concrete, the 
Portland Cement Association joined with the city in the de- 
dication exercices. The cement association erected two concrete 
pillars at the western end of the roadway as suitable monuments 
to the undertaking. At 1:30 p.m. three bombs were sent up 
from the Square to mark the official opening of the dedication 
ceremonies. A parade was held, headed by Mayor Duvall. 
Addresses were made by the Mayor; S. E. Bradt, Superintendent 
of Highways of Illinois; Captain E. R. Kinsen, President of 
the Board of Public Service of St. Louis; Mayor Mollman of 
East St. Louis; and Benjamin Franklin Affleck formerly of 
Belleville, then an official of the Portland Cement Company 
of Chicago. 

The advent of smooth concrete highways spelled the doom 
of the old plank road. Last of these to go was the Belleville- 
Smithton Road in 1917. Plank roads were always in need of 
repair, their tolls were a nuisance with the newer ways of travel, 
and their type was no longer satisfactory. In 1915, the Good 
Roads Booster Club was organized and the old plank roads 
were, one by one, thrown open to the public. First the fees 
were no longer collected and then the township assumed con- 
trol. By 1919 our program of concrete highway construction 
was in full swing. 

A daring professor, in gaily colored tights, in all 
probability the first man ever to leave the solid ground of our 
city to soar towards the clouds above. This event took place at 
the old fairgrounds, where a balloon ascension thrilled the local 
citizenry and stirred their vivid imaginations to the day when 


man would rule the air. The balloon used was rather 
primitive in construction, which was all the more reason for 
making the spectators' hearts tremble in suspense, until the 
daring aviator had made a safe landing, which he did by 
narrowly missing spearing himself on the pointed steeple of 
the Presbyterian Church on South High Street. 

Presumably what was scheduled to be the first airplane flight 
here was that to take place in the summer of 1911, when it had 
been announced that Professor Joyce would make daily flights 
at the County Fair. The public was assured that the "human 
bird" was thoroughly familiar with the working and the 
operation of his plane, and that when the ship was not in flight, 
it would be on exhibition. For the small sum of ten cents, one 
could get a close view of it. It was heralded as one of the old 
type Curtiss biplanes with huge, monstrous landing wings 
and the aviator had to perch himself perilously in the open 
nose of the ship. 

Having had their curiosity aroused through advanced an- 
nouncement of its coming to the fair, ten thousand people 
gathered there the first day to see it and to watch the take-off. 
But they were sorely disappointed for the aviator did not make 
his appearance and the nearest thing to an airplane that they 
saw was a stretch of white canvass around a framework that 
was supposed to be an airplane. There was no motor nor pilot, 
and it cost a dime to see this contraption. 

The first real airplane to reach the city limits of Belleville 
was flown by Professor Janis from St. Louis to Ogle Station 
in 1912. He had intended to fly to the Fair Grounds to attend 
the Retail Merchants Picnic on the Fourth of July, but on the 
first leg of his trip, which took him to Edgemont he was forced 
down because of a bad cylinder. He repaired it only to be 
forced down again at Ogle Station, when another cylinder 
went bad. Being unable to repair this one in time, he boarded 
the street car to the picnic. But now, at least, an airplane had 


actually landed on Belleville soil. 

Other means of transportation available here now are three 
railroad trunk lines, namely, the Illinois Central, Louisville 
and Nashville, and Southern Railroads. These have connections 
with 28 carriers that terminate in St. Louis and carry our pro- 
ducts all over the world. There are five local freight, 15 local 
passenger, and 22 through freight trains on these three trunk 
lines daily. Besides these, air mail, air express, and air travel 
are also available to us due to our nearness to the St. Louis 

On July 29, 1929, the new St. Louis-Belleville Highway 13 
was opened for traffic. This shortened the distance between 
the two cities and it was estimated that the automobile owners 
would save $122,750 a year using it. It is now being supplement- 
ed by a four-lane super-highway No. 460. 

In 1926 busses were substituted for street cars by the East 
St. Louis and Suburban Railway and in 1932 the East St. 
Louis and Interurban Railway discontinued service between 
Belleville and St. Louis largely because of competition from the 
Purple Swan Coach and Blue Goose Motor Coach Companies. 
The Belleville-St. Louis Coach Company was organized and 
began operations on August 30, 1933, succeeding the East St. 
Louis and Suburban Railway Company and absorbed the 
coach companies. It began with eleven busses, while 
today it has a total of forty-three in service, and employs 
seventy-five employees of which all but ten are drivers. They 
began with four routes in the city and a St. Louis route. Today 
it has added one more route in the city and makes regular 
runs to Scott Field. Through affiliated companies it operates 
service to most nearby communities and to other lines passing 
through our city, thereby connecting us with all parts of the 
United States. 

Its rates have been drastically reduced. The fare to St. Louis 
was 45 cents, but today is only 30 cents. The city fare was 


a dime under the old company but it was cut to five cents 
by the new firm. The company is composed entirely of local 
men and they own nearly all of its $120,000 capital stock. 
Besides buying new busses the company has purchased a ter- 
minal on the Public Square and a garage at Main and 4th 
Streets. J. L. Wellinghoff is its president, James W. Bedwell 
is vice-president, Earl Crocker secretar)', and Arnold Breitweiser 
is the treasurer. It makes 90 round trips to St. Louis every day 
beginning at 4:20 a.m. until 3:10 a.m. Busses leave every 
fifteen minutes except during the rush hours at which time 
they leave every six minutes. 

We are located 14 miles from one of the greatest internal 
water svstems in the world. We are connected bv rail, truck, 
and bus with the navigable streams and canals of the Mississippi, 
Missouri, and Ohio Rivers which total 13,394 miles. This sys- 
tem joins by water twenty states with a population of more 
than fifty million people. On this river system long-haul freight 
ser\ices are operated bv the Federal Barge Line and the short 
haul is done by local packet lines. Our local trading area 
extends eight miles north, forty miles south, thirty miles east 
and seven miles west. Since we are located in the St. Louis 
metropolitan district our cost of living is fifteen per cent lower 
than cities of the same size not in a similar area. 


In 1816, two years after Belleville was founded, the village 
had grown large enough to justify the establishment of a post 
office. It was called Bellvill-Illinois Territory Post Office 
(notice lack of the letter "E" in Belleville, which was added 
later.) It was officially opened on March 14, 1816, with Post 
Master James P. Estes in charge. 

Correspondence was not indulged in then as extensively as 
it is today, due perhaps to the high postal rates. Postage 
was figured according to distance instead of weight and a 


single letter to Lexington, Kentucky, required eighteen cents 
in postage. If it consisted of two sheets, or an envelope, its 
cost doubled, making it cost thirty-seven cents. A single letter 
from Belleville to New York cost twenty-five cents, while from 
here to St. Louis it took six cents. 

On February 1, 1849, the following notice appeared in a 
local newspaper, "Mail lost." Then followed an explanation 
telling that the Eastern mail had been lost on Monday, while 
crossing Shoal Creek. The coach had been lost and the four 
horses had drowned, illustrating that the pioneer postal service, 
with its strictly theoretical mail schedules, was dependent upon 
the whims of nature. Two things, contributing to the great 
postal handicap in the early days, was the price of postage and 
the difficulties of travel during the winter months, when there 
were days and even weeks at a time when the mail could 
not be delivered. 

In pioneer days, the only mail carriers we had were ones that 
carried the mail from one citv to another. One of these was 
young Col. J. L. D. Morrison, who carried the mail from 
Kaskaskia to its surrounding cities, including Belleville. For this 
he rode a French pony, making the trips in a prompt and 
efficient manner. 

In 1844, Belleville was fortunate enough to be on the Great 
Western Mail Route, which carried the mail from the East 
to the West. Beginning then, a four-horse mail stage passed 
through the village every day. This provided unusually good 
mail service and added another asset to the growing community. 

In 1845, the postal rates were changed and greatly reduced. 
The charge now was five cents on letters of less than one half 
ounce for the first three hundred miles and ten cents for mail 
beyond that distance. In 1849 a uniform rate of three cents 
for the first half ounce, regardless of distance, plus six cents 
for ever}' additional one half ounce, was adopted. 

As the amount of mail increased, it had to be carried between 


cities by means of coaches. Here again the difficulty of bad 
roads had to be confronted. The only carriers who could get 
through were those on horse back, but these carried only a small 
amount of mail. No one worried, however, not even the post 
master, for they knew that sooner or later it would arrive and 
depart regularly and on time when the roads improved. Still 
more serious than the bottomless roads, were the antics of the 
Mississippi River, which with methodical regularity, threw the 
schedule out of line. When the river went on a rampage, 
which it usually did in the spring and fall, the ferry could not 
cross with the mail to or from St. Louis. Neither could it in 
winter when it was filled with floating ice, all of which was 
a contributing factor towards the building of a bridge across 
the Mississippi. When, in 1874, the Eads Bridge was opened 
to traffic our city was no longer cut off from St. Louis by the 
whims of weather. 

Free carrier service to homes became a reality on July 1, 
1887. The city was divided into four districts and a carrier 
appointed for each one. Twenty-seven mail boxes were placed 
at convenient points throughout the city and collections were 
made at regular intervals. The citizens were very grateful for 
this action, which made our city one of the thirty-six in the state 
to have this kind of service. 

The appointment of a new postmaster, by President Lincoln 
on January 9, 1865, started a custom that we occasionally follow. 
It was in that year that Colonel Hugo Wangelin became the 
postmaster. In 1894 his son Irvin H. Wangelin received the 
appointment by President Cleveland. Our last postmaster Her- 
man G. Wangelin was appointed to that position by Franklin D. 
Roosevelt, December 31, 1934, and is the third generation of 
the family to hold that office. Our present postmaster Eugene 
Brauer was appointed by President Harry Truman. 

In the early days, the location of the Post Office didn't 
remain static very long, for it was moved from time to time. 


On March 14, 1846, it was moved to the brick building where 
Governor Reynolds had his law office; on May 5, 1858, it was 
moved directly west of the National Hotel; on February 5, 
1859, it was moved to the Belleville House; on September 12, 
1863, it was moved to Main and High; on April 30, 1869, it 
was moved back to the Belleville House; on July 4, 1873, it 
was moved to High and Washington; on January 23, 1899, a 
contract was let to equip a new post office in the building 
now used as a bus station, on the northeast comer of the 
Square; on May 8, 1903, it was moved to the northwest comer 
of the Square in the Lorey Building, now occupied by the 
Stiehl Dmg Company; on November 11, 1911, it moved to 
its new $100,000 building, located on the northwest comer of 
"A" and First Streets. 

The postmasters, who served, and the day they took office 
were as follows: March 14, 1816, James P. Estes; September 
10, 1819, Richard Groves; July 23, 1822, John Ringold; May 
23, 1823, James Mitchell; November 28, 1839, Charles Sargent; 
November 26, 1840, James M. Reynolds; May 10, 1841, James 
Mitchell; July 3, 1845, William Snyder; October 1, 1849, 
James Mitchell; June 15, 1853, Champness Ball; October 5, 
1858, James W. Hughes; March 27, 1861, Sharon Tyndale; 
January 9, 1865, Colonel Hugo Wangelin; March 11, 1873, 
Francis M. Taylor; June 13, 1877, Henry G. Millitizer; January 
17, 1882, John B. Hay; March 1, 1886, Colonel Adolph 
Engelmann; Febmary 14, 1890, James B. Willoughby; April 5, 
1894, Irvin H. Wangelin; October 8, 1898, John E. Thomas; 
January 18, 1907, Cyms Thompson; Febmary 21, 1912, Louis 
Opp; August 1, 1913, Philip H. Sopp; May 8, 1922, Louis 
Opp; May 9, 1926, Herman Semmelroth; December 31, 1934, 
Herman G. Wangehn; October 19, 1950, Eugene Brauer. 

In April of 1940 the Belleville office opened a branch at 
Scott Field to serve the military personnel stationed there. From 
a small room in the Headquarters building the facilities have 
grown to where a post office building now houses the postal 


business in the first area with branches in the 2nd and 3rd 

Besides its many postal duties, the post office also issues 
and cashes money orders, sells U. S. Savings Bonds and Stamps, 
conducts a Postal Savings Bank and represents the United States 
Civil Service Commission in this area. 

All postal employees are under civil service. The pay for 
regular clerks and carriers starts at $2670 a year based on a 
forty-hour week. The pay for substitutes is one dollar and thirty- 
one cents per hour with no work week specified. Today there 
are ninety-seven employees at the Belleville and Scott Field 
offices. In addition to the Postmaster there are eight supervisors, 
thirty-one regular clerks, thirty-eight regular carriers, six sub- 
stitute clerks, six substitute carriers, three rural route carriers, 
one special delivery messenger, and three custodial managers. 
The city is served by twenty-seven carrier routes and three rural 
routes serve the surrounding rural area. Four Star routes origin- 
ate at this office. 

The postal receipts have increased from practically nothing 
in 1816 to $352,581.19 in 1949. In this same year the cancel- 
lations on first class mail reached an all time high of over 
20,000,000 pieces. 


Just as in all other communities, Belleville, too, had no 
regular water system, but depended entirely on private wells 
and the town pump, which was located on the Public Square. 
The water supply was as good as nature provided and, with 
the public well on the Square, was sufficient for the needs in 
pioneer days. 

All went well until the summer of 1854 when the rainfall 
was so negligible that many of the private wells went dry. To 
prevent the hoarding of water, the town pump was locked 


after a msh threatened to empty it. Many citizens objected to 
this so vehemently that one night the lock was smashed to 
pieces and a written notice was posted, declaring the pump to 
be a free institution, and that such "know-nothing proceedings," 
as that of putting it under lock and chain, would not be tolerated 
by those who love both freedom and water. 

The demand for water continued to increase and in June, 
1860, another public well was sunk on the Market Square and 
the water from it was declared to be of excellent quality. 

The water of Richland Creek supplied most of the industries 
located along its banks, but it soon became evident that it was 
not the right thing to use in steam engines, for it sometimes 
produced dire results for the boilers. 

With the growth of our city, it became evident that a greater 
supply of water was needed if we hoped to invite additional 
industry and then to keep its wheels turning. 

In the past, many lakes had been built, additional shallow 
and deep wells had been sunk in the American Bottoms, but 
all of them furnished an insufficient amount of water and we 
were constantly searching for a greater supply. The deep well 
water came from a stratum known as St. Peters Sand and was 
of excellent quality but of insufficient quantity to satisfy the 
ever growing demand. Some of the wells at the foot of the 
bluffs contained water of an inferior quality and many berated 
those responsible for foisting this product upon the city as pure 
water. Even school officials contended it was unfit for pupils 
to drink. 

Although Belleville never had a real water famine, there 
were times when the supply of water was rather low. Many 
futile attempts had been made before an unlimited supply of 
water was finally secured. The old story from the town pump 
to water from the Mississippi River is a long and hard one. 
Many fruitless starts had been made for a more adequate 
water supply and company after company had been incorporated 


but they all failed, until in 1855 when a city-wide water system 
was begun. 

In April, 1885, the digging of the trench and the laying of 
the pipe for the proposed water works got under way. To 
Edward Abend, president of the company, went the honor to 
head the elaborate ceremony held on the Public Square that 
marked the beginning of this water works. He also had the 
honor of breaking the macadam with a pick thereby starting 
the ditch in which the pipes were laid. In his address he de- 
clared, that for twenty years, he had been working for the very 
thing they were about to witness, the breaking of the ground 
for a water system. Mayor Herman G. Weber threw out the 
first shovel full of dirt and congratulated the people that what 
they had long before hoped for, and wished for, was soon to 
become a reality. 

The new company constructed a reservoir water system in 
the Richland Creek bottoms north of our city. The storage 
reservoir had a capacity of forty million gallons, a filtering 
reservoir held one million gallons and a distributing reservoir 
held three million gallons. When these were completed, the 
city was very proud of the improvements that had been made, 
but as our city continued to grow and as more homes and 
industries were built, the supply again became inadequate. 

In 1888 the company began work on the thirty-acre reservoir 
now known as Lake Christine. By 1890 the supply again be- 
came so low that factories were forced to close down during 
some of the summer months. In 1893 the company had a third 
reservoir, this one known as Lake No. 3, but today as Lake 
Lorraine, with a 70,000,000 gallon capacity. Lake Christine 
held 120,000,000 gallons and the first reservoir that 
had been built held 40,000,000 more gallons making a total 
of 230,000,000 gallons. These lakes, large as they were, could 
not cope with the growing demands. Then in 1897, the Deep 
Well Water Works Company was organized. It absorbed the 


old lake system of the previous firm and sank a series of 
artesian wells, 500 feet deep, at the foot of Water Tower Hill 
at the south end of the city. 

However, again by 1908, a new and greater water supply 
had become absolutely necessary and therefore seven wells 
were sunk in the American Bottoms, near the village of Edge- 
mont, and a pumping station was erected there. These wells 
furnished an abundance of water that was seemingly pure and 
healthful, but of such hard quality, that our people hesitated 
to use it. 

By 1912, there loomed another shortage of water and a new 
source was again sought. It was decided in that year, that the 
Mississippi River was the only solution to our water problem. 
So a water main was built, which connected with the East St. 
Louis Water Company. The pumping station at Edgemont was 
used to force the water up to Belleville's altitude. 

The shallow wells, the reservoirs, the deep wells, and those 
in the American Bottoms, were all abandoned now and on 
September 12, 1912, our water system was connected with 
that in East St. Louis. Today we are supplied with the in- 
exhaustible Mississippi River water flowing into our water 

The East St. Louis and Interurban Water Company supplies 
not only our city, but also eighteen other municipalities. Water 
is taken from the Mississippi River, opposite and below where 
the Missouri river enters it at the rate of 30,000,000 gallons 
every twenty-four hours, of which Belleville uses 5,000,000 
gallons a day. The Company's purification and pumping plants 
are so arranged that they can be readily expanded to provide 
any demand which may be made upon them by the community 
served. Belleville has two supply lines, both twelve inches 
in diameter, from the Edgemont pumping station, which assures 
us continuous service. A stand pipe and reservoir provide storage 
facilities, and a tank also affords storage at Edgemont. The 


city is well piped with distribution lines and fire hydrants, 
giving assurance of water facilities and fire protection. The 
average pressure maintained at the pumping station is seventy- 
five pounds, but the average throughout the system is fifty 
pounds. The manager of the Belleville branch today is E. S. 

Our city has also built a sewage disposal system adequate to 
take care of a population of fifty thousand as soon as the inter- 
cepting sewer and treatment plants are completed. 



Belleville's efficient fire department is the outgrowth of over 
one hundred years of good service. It was in 1841 that the first 
fire department was organized under the name of the Illinois 
Town Fire Company. It was located on South Jackson Street 
in the identical place where Engine House No. 1 now stands. 

Early fire engines were very different from those of today. 
The first one was bought in New York and shipped by water 
to St. Louis via New Orleans, and from there it was sent over 
land to Belleville. It was a crude, hand-drawn and hand-pumped 
affair, very small in size when compared to our modern ones. 
It soon proved too small to serve the ever growing needs of our 
population, which by 1844 numbered 1,964. 

To meet the increasing demand for fire fighting equipment 
a second engine was bought in 1844 at a cost of $400. Similar 
to the first one, it too, was a hand-drawn and hand-pumped 
affair. It was a great improvement over the old bucket brigade, 
the only means of fighting fire in the early days, although it 
still was handicapped, in that it was hand-drawn and couldn't 
be moved very fast. As an inducement to those pulling the fire 
engine to get to the scene of the fire in as short a time as 
possible, the Village Board in 1848 offered a reward of two 
dollars for the first water cart to arrive there and one dollar 
to the one that arrived second. 


In 1848 Volunteer Fire Company No. 2 was organized and 
by 1852 the city had a total fire department consisting of 89 
men, incredible as that may seem. This second organization 
later changed its name to Union Company. To better equip 
them for fire fighting, a popular subscription of $100 was raised, 
and the Village Board agreed to buy fifty Indian rubber buckets 
at $1.75 each. Both engines were used only for pumping water 
out of the wells in cases of fire. The additional buckets added 
to the efficiency of the department. 

Through the help of A. C. Heinzelman, a member of the 
Village Board, a third volunteer fire company was organized on 
April 27, 1859, and was called the Washington Company. In 
1861 George Heinzelman was elected its captain and it was 
then that its name was changed to The Invincible No. 3. 
The Village Board bought a new lire engine for them costing 
$600. The three rival companies had such distinguished names 
as St. Clair No. 1; Illinois No. 2; and Invincible No. 3. 

With improved pumping equipment, a greater source of water 
supply had to be obtained, so in 1865 the city engineer was 
requested by the City Board to plan for the construction of 
24 cisterns, each holding 1,000 barrels of water, and which 
were to cost about $52 each. These cisterns were not to be 
over 600 feet apart so that 300 feet of hose, attached to the 
pump, would reach a cistern anywhere in the city. 

As time went on the names of the three departments again 
underwent a change. Company 1, located at Freeburg and 
South Charles and East Grant streets, became the South Belle- 
ville Company; Engine House No. 2, located on the northeast 
corner of Illinois and B streets became the St. Clair Volunteers, 
while Engine House No. 3, located at South Jackson and Wash- 
ington streets became known as the Illinois Volunteers. 

It was in 1872, that the Union Fire Company opened its 
new engine house on Jackson street. This building was 29 by 
50 feet, two stories, walls 13 inches thick and well braced with 


iron. It was designed by William Hess and built by Charles 
Dehnent, The vacant lot in the rear which measured 60 by 
200 feet was beautified with trees and shrubbery. 

The City Council bought the first steam fire engine and at its 
trial run had enough steam to pump water 120 feet into the 
air from a one and one-half inch nozzle and for a distance of 
270 feet from a two and three-fourth inch nozzle. It was 
claimed that this was the first engine of its kind in the mid- 
west and our city was very proud of the water throwing ability 
of its first steam fire engine. 

By 1878 the Belleville Fire Department had changed from 
a volunteer department to one on a salary basis. The firemen 
received from $5 to $70 a month, the last being the salary for 
the fire chief. The firemen were still able to proceed with their 
private business, but were subject to instant call by the city 
at the ringing of a bell. 

On January 8, 1886, the City Council raised their salaries. 
That of the hosemen was fixed at ten dollars per month, and 
five dollars for their first hour, and two dollars for each 
additional hour, while fighting a fire. Assistant hosemen re- 
ceived eight dollars per month and four dollars for the first 
hour, and two dollars for each additional hour while helping 
fight a fire. 

In 1878 a hook and ladder wagon made in St. Louis, was 
purchased, and it was equipped with new and improved chemi- 
cal fire extinguishers, that could be used on small fires. The city 
was now divided into five equal districts and an electrical alarm 
system was established. The twenty-one alarm boxes were rented 
from the Electric Company at twelve dollars and fifty cents per 

On September 22, 1916, the first fire engine, fully equipped 
for fighting small fires, was received. One month later it 
answered its first call to a fire one and one-half miles away, 
covering the distance in three minutes. On January 29, 1931, 


our most recent fire engine house, located at 5900 West Main 
Street, was opened to Fire Engine Crew No. 3. It was erected 
there to serve the Rock Road district west of 35th Street. Today 
Belleville receives fire protection from three well-located fire 
stations. A total of twenty-six men are employed, and the 
equipment consists of seven motorized units. Our losses by fires 
have been reduced to the minimum and compare favorably 
with those of any other city in the state. In recent years. Fire 
Prevention Week has been duly observed during the first week 
in October. The one held in 1937 fittingly displayed wooden 
tombstones inscribed as follows: (1) I smoked in bed; (2) 
I cleaned with gasoline; (3) I started a fire with kerosene; 
(4) I didn't clean my chimney; and (5) Waste paper and 
rags were piled in the attic of my house. 

The real estate and hose equipment of our fire department 
is valued at $150,000. Its firemen are well trained and while 
at work they furnish an excellent example of individual re- 
sponsibility combined with group cooperation. They have been 
trained to use and not to loose their heads. 

The members of the Fire Department in 1950 were: Fire 
Chief, Albert Nebgen, Edward Falcetti, Frank Resch, James 
Paxon, Fred Thompson, Fred Bruss, Emil Zinser, John Finklein, 
Earl Ritzheimer, John Wade, Phihp Klotz, Frank Hart, Emil 
Seiler, Ervin Schmitz, Frank Bader, Wilbur Rodenmeyer, Robert 
Sauer, Richard Kensinger, Edward Hock, John Chouinard, 
Edward Wilson, Charles Braun, Clarence List, Robert Walta, 
Floyd Schmitz, Norman Schlesinger, Raymond Daesch, Clar- 
ence Halcomb and three deskmen, Ewald Henke, Edward Ro- 
denmeyer, and Emil Hackenbruch. 


As far back as 1814, when Belleville was first organized as 
a village, it had its officer of the law, a constable, as he was 
known in those days, and he was the entire municipal law. 


Although at times exposed to danger, his pay was meager, for 
it consisted only of his share of the fines or fees collected for 
serving writs. 

"I'll call the law," was not heard as frequently in that day 
as it is now, because calling the law then was a difficult matter. 
The entire law was centered in the constable and the law was 
wherever he was, and sometimes the question was, where was 

It was one thing for the constable to get his man but it was 
an entirely different problem to get him safely to the jail. 
Sometimes he and his victim became quite well acquainted as 
they walked to the Police Station. Sometimes some citizen, 
chancing to be driving by, would give them a lift. Again if no 
hack appeared, the prisoner, whose offense was nothing more 
in many instances than being drunk, would have to be carried 
to the jail on a house shutter, or given a ride on a wheel 
barrow, or a forced walk. 

If the occasion demanded it, there was, of course, a major 
county law officer, the sheriff, to lend a helping hand to the 

Thieving and burglary were our most serious local problems 
and to combat these a volunteer watch was organized, its 
members taking turns at patrolling the streets at night. This 
was far from pleasant work on the unlighted streets, especially 
on a dark and rainy night. The night patrol, however, did 
much good because many of the suspicious characters who had 
long infested our city were soon driven out. Because of its 
good work, the night patrol was looked upon with great favor 
by the people. 

The constable's work increased with the growth of the 
community and in 1850 the office of City Marshall was created. 
Legend has it that the Marshall was supposed to be tall, have 
a mustache, and wear a blue serge suit with the trouser legs 
stuffed into black boots. At first he did not receive a regular 


salary but had to depend upon fines and fees for his financial 
reward. His good work was soon rewarded by regular pay, ample 
enough to permit him to devote his entire time and energy 
to the job. 

As late as 1850 promenading porkers were found on the city's 
streets, but then the City Council passed an ordinance per- 
mitting the Marshall to charge a $3 fee from their respective 
owners whenever they came to reclaim a hog. 

In 1854 the City Council voted to give the city marshall help 
by appointing a deputy marshall for each of the four wards 
which then made up the city. This was still insufficient as 
shown by the crime wave we had in the latter months of 1865. 
Four special policemen were appointed for the four wards at 
a salary of $75 a month. This force of night police was the 
nucleus from which the first regular organized police force in 
Belleville grew. By the ordinance of 1867 the department con- 
sisted of— a city marshall, chief of police, a captain of the 
night police, and four policemen. By 1890, there were 12— 
a city marshall, a night police captain, a sergeant, and nine 
policemen. In 1913, there were 15 policemen, and in 1939 
there were 21 members comprising the department. In 1951 
it totalled 35 members. 

In May, 1913, the city bought its first motorcycle for the 
police department. Others were soon added until today the 
department boasts of seven motorized units, equipped squad 
cars and motorcycles. 

On July 7, 1887, a "hoodlum wagon," known as the famed 
"Black Maria" was bought at a cost of $234. It was a wagon 
of effulgent splendor, decorated in a bright coat of red paint, 
with gilded lettering and brass lamps and it seated six occupants 
with ease. It was used by the city until 1921 when it was re- 
placed by the modern way of hauling prisoners to jail, namely 
the patrol car. The patrol wagon was sold in that year to the 
highest bidder, which was $42.50, and it was wrecked as junk 
on June 18, 1929. 


With the coming of the telephone, the pohce department 
was one of the first to be equipped with it. In 1921, the 
effectiveness of the system was gready increased, when twenty- 
one telephones were placed at strategic points throughout the 
city to form the first police alarm system in our city. These 
have since been replaced by a radio station in 1937, use of which 
enables police to be at hand within a few minutes after a 
crime has been committed. 

Police are given special schooling in personal defense, in 
jujitsu handling of prisoners, in hand-cuffing and searching, 
in writing and interpreting reports, in types of crimes, in clues 
that should be followed up, blood tests, death masks, taking 
foot prints, tire tracks and finger printing. The instructors are 
usually members of the police force, who were trained for this 
work by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A local police 
school was started in 1938 and is today equipped with an out- 
door shooting range where both slow and rapid fire shooting 
is practiced with shot guns, pistols, and sub-machine guns. 
Today there are thirty-four men, including the health officers, 
chief, captain, sergeant and heutenant, in the department. 

Finger printing is regarded today as very essential in police 
work. All persons arrested for major crimes are finger printed 
and copies thereof are sent to Washington, where a permanent 
record is kept. This department consists of a Laten finger print- 
ing set, which contains printer's ink, printing cards, card holders, 
inking pad, powder, lifting tab, and a filing cabinet. It is also 
equipped to take plaster casts of foot, tire and bar marks. 

The police squad cars are equipped with transmitters, receiv- 
ing set and sending sets, and powerful search lights. They are 
armed with guns, carry first aid kits, and cruise over the entire 
city at all times and are used chiefly in making invesdgations. 
The police motorcycles carry a receiving set but no sending set. 
Their chief duty is to watch traffic, listen to the police broad- 
casts and be ready for any emergency. 


The police broadcasting station is fully and completely 
equipped. Squad cars, cruising the city, report their location 
to the station at regular intervals. 

Today's police force is divided into three shifts: (1) 7 a.m. 
to 3 p.m., with Chief of Police Reese Dobson and Lieutenant 
Walter Ruebel in charge; (2) 3 p.m. to 1 1 p.m., with Sergeant 
Clarence Hassal; (3) 11 p.m. to 7 a.m. under Captain Frank 

The police force today consists of 10 officers and 24 patrol- 
men.. They are as follows: Chief: Reese Dobson; Captain: 
Frank Riesenberger; Lieutenant: Walter Ruebel; Sergeants: 
Robert Bell, Clarence Hassall and Clarence Mullett; Corporals: 
Herbert Kaltenbronn, Andrew Kirkwood, Paul Klincar and 
Norman Simonin; Licence Collector: Walter Magin; Police- 
men: David Beese, Frank Bott, Raymond Butzinger, Charles 
Groom, Monroe Hodo, Oscar Joffray, Fred Johnson, Emil 
Kluge, Milton Kroenig, Richard Kurrus, George Lawrence, 
Elmer Lehman, Walter Magin, William McEvers, William 
Mertens, Jr., William Mertens, Sr., Percy Miller, Wallace 
Miller, Fred Moessinger, Hugo Paule, Melvin Poniske, William 
Rutherford, John Smith and Raymond Sterthman. 


Local Institutions 

Public Buildings 1814-1942 

\^J^ ne of the principal buildings of former times was the 
Market House, located on the Public Square, in which all 
meats and groceries were sold. The law then not only required 
that all foods had to be sold here, but went so far as to fix 
the market hours, and to forbid the selling of fresh beef, pork, 
veal, lamb, or mutton in less quantity than a quarter. A farmer, 
however, was exempt from this law and could sell his home- 
cured bacon, sausage, and other meats at any time and any 

A market master presided over all activities of the market, 
and it was also his duty to direct farmers to keep the market 
clean, to preserve order and to suppress fights. 

A city ordinance of 1855 prohibited any person from tying 
or hitching a horse to the Market House, and made it a mis- 
demeanor to lead an animal into the Market House, to sleep 
on the tables, to threaten the market master, to allow dogs to 
follow one through the market, or to throw melon rinds or 
garbage about. Corn meal, hominy, oats, potatoes, turnips, 
carrots, apples, peaches, and other vegetables and fruits had to 
be packed either in pints, quarts, gallons, pecks, or half bushels. 
Butter had to be sold in one-half, one, two, and three pound 
rolls, and penalties were set for any unfair measures and weights. 

The butcher stalls in the Market House were auctioned off 


for a term of one year on the first Monday in April. One-half 
the rent had to be paid in advance. Those seJling vegetables 
and farm produce paid the market master a sum of five dollars 
and had to provide themselves with a suitable bench or table. 
It became the duty of the market master to protect these tables 
and benches from being damaged and to see to it that they 
were occupied by their rightful owners only. Outside the market, 
in the Market Square, a two-horse wagon could occupy a space 
for 20 cents daily, a one-horse wagon for 10 cents, and a 
basket-seller for 5 cents. 

Having outlived its usefulness, the old Market House on 
the Square was sold for $29.00, and a new Market Square 
located between Illinois and High streets, extending east of 
the present Bell Telephone building, was provided. It was 
bought by the city in 1885 from J. Mitchell and J. Thomas for 
$4,228.00. The lot adjoining the Market Square with a frontage 
of twenty-eight feet on A Street, was also acquired by the city 
from S. B. Chandler. 

The new Market House was opened for business on July 1, 
1857, well supplied with foods of all kind at very moderate 
prices. Belleville was indeed proud of its new market for the 
city contended it was the best market house in the state. 

The market flourished, and for years it continued to be 
favored with protective legislation by the various city coun- 
cils. An ordinance had been passed which prohibited the selling 
of food outside the Market House by others during market 
hours. It was no uncommon sight to see the proud, masculine 
heads of some of the leading families doing the family shopping. 
Usually a young son accompanied them to carry the laden 
basket home, while their elders went on to the day's business. 

The hucksters sold their wares from crude, wooden tables 
that lined the street edge of the sidewalk, over which a pro- 
tective porch had been built. Their wagons or buggies were 
backed up against the curb, making unloading easy. 


In 1890 a new ordinance permitted grocers with fixed es- 
tablishments to do business while the market was open, but 
peddling of vegetables or fruits, was not allowed during market 

Prominent among butchers who occupied the indoor stalls 
of the Market House, were Jacob Bischof, Sr., John Thebus, 
and Henry A. Heinemann. 

With the coming of the corner grocery store the city market 
began to decline. The first to abandon it were the butchers, 
and by 1900 hucksters, too, had almost entirely faded from the 
picture. In that year the street department, looking for storage 
room, took over the Market House and used it as a street 
railway freight depot. In it were housed also the street rollers 
and other equipment. By this time it had already become known 
as the Street Roller House. Thus it remained until it was torn 
down by the city in November, 1934, and the premises turned 
into a parking lot. With the market's disappearance, the corner 
grocery store began to flourish, but its existence, too, is being 
threatened today by the chain grocery stores. 

Although Belleville had a post office since 1814, it wasn't 
until almost a hundred years later that a permanent post office 
was built by the federal government and completed in 1911. 
Its dedication was a major event, wdth the public invited to 
inspect the new building. In the receiving line were Congress- 
man W. A. Rodenberg, who was responsible for securing the 
building. Mayor Fred J. Kern, and Postmaster Cyrus Thompson. 

An addition to the Post Office building in 1923 measured 
33 by 69 feet and provided an additional 2000 square feet 
of floor space to be used as a work room and mailing vestibule. 

Because of its central location, Belleville had replaced Caho- 
kia as the county seat of St. Clair county. Since no special 
building had as yet been erected to serve as a court house, a 
long narrow one-story log cabin that stood on the Public Square 
was used for that purpose, and George Blair received six dollars 


for hauling the records, benches, seats, and tables from the old 
court house at Cahokia to the new location. 

When this court house proved inadequate, civic-minded 
George Blair donated 25 lots to the county, which were to be 
sold and the money used to build a new court house. The con- 
tract was giv^en to Etienne Pensoneau in the summer of 1814. 
He was ordered to erect a two-story unpainted frame building 
for the contract price of $1,525.00 which was only partly paid 
while the county remained in debt for about $1,200.00 until 
1818 when the Sheriff was ordered to pay the balance. The 
building was occupied in 1817 and was considered quite large 
and up-to-date for the times. It was located on the northwest 
part of the Public Square and remained in use until 1833 when 
the need for a larger court house again became evident. 

St. Clair county's third court house, begun in 1829 for 
$3,189,00 also fronted on the Public Square, standing just 
west of the first one. Its proportions were larger then the other 
two had been, for by this time the count)' had a population of 
20,000. It was a brick building finished in 1831, but not 
occupied until 1833. 

Ample though it seemed at first, three decades later it too, 
was too small, and ways and means were being discussed of 
erecting another. The contract for the new building was let 
on May 27, 1857, to a Mr. Holder. It was to be of brick and 
stone construction two stories high, with a basement under the 
entire building. At the time it was considered equal to any 
in the state, outside of Chicago. With the coming of the Civil 
War, the construction, which had already begun, was delayed, 
but the building was finally completed in that year, at a war- 
inflated cost of $115,000. It was considerd fire proof because of 
the materials used in its construction. The roof was of copper 
and iron, and the floors were slabs of cut stone imported from 

In 1862 a contract of $4,384 was let for furnishing the 


interior. This is the St. Clair County Court House today, the 
fourth one to be located in Belleville and the fifth in the 

The first court house at Cahokia was razed and rebuilt for 
the World's Fair in St. Louis in 1904. After being reconstructed, 
it was once more torn down and rebuilt for the Chicago World's 
Fair in 1934. Now it again graces its original site in Cahokia, 
having been restored by the Illinois Department of Public 
Works and Buildings, appearing as it did in 1793 when 
Cahokia was one of the largest cities in the Northwest Territory. 
It is being maintained by the state. 

No county jail was provided for in the first court house. 
Pioneers usually took the law into their own hands, believing 
it unnecessary to trouble the courts with matters they felt 
qualified to handle. Informal trials were held and punishment 
at once inflicted. Many, when found guilty, were allowed the 
privilege of leaving the country, thereby escaping a penalty 
that might have been much more severe. 

St. Clair County's first two jails were located at Cahokia. 
The first was built as a part of the court house. The second 
was built in 1812 at a cost of $200, and was an exceptional 
building. Its dimensions were 14 by 18 feet. A two-story build- 
ina with seven feet of space between the two floors, it was made 
entirely of logs that were 12 inches in diameter, so as to make 
the building proof against escape. 

The construction of the third county jail, the first to be 
built in Belleville, began in February, 1816. Its contractor was 
Henry Sharp, and it was located on the northwest corner of 
the Public Square. It, too, was a small log structure, and cost 
$360. After four years it was replaced by a fourth county jail, 
a brick building constructed by William Graves. It was located 
in the center of Illinois street on the north edge of the Square, 
where it remained until 1836, when it was abandoned for the 
fifth jail, built in 1836 by David Snyder. 


It also was located on North Illinois street, adjoining the 
comer lot now occupied by Feickert's Bakery. When finished, 
it was regarded as one of the most modem jails of the time. 
Actually, however, it was an excellent example of a dungeon, 
for it had no ventilation, no windows, a few holes three or 
four inches wide in the ceiling, and the air in it was hardly 
fit for reptiles. In the winter it was damp and cold, and in the 
summer unbearably hot. In 1840 the grand jury complained 
about the filth and dirt in the cells and stated that in their 
opinion it was nothing more than a dungeon that would en- 
danger the prisoners' health, and a disgrace to the community. 

The sixth county jail was erected in 1849 and located on the 
southeast corner of East Washington and Jackson streets, 
where the First Church of Christ Scientist now stands. It was 
two stories high, surrounded by a high brick wall, and large 
enough to accommodate twenty-four prisoners. It was the most 
cosdy of all the jails that had been built up to that time, totalling 

The seventh county jail, the fifth one to be built in Belleville, 
was begun in 1885 and completed in April, 1886, at a total 
cost of $33,753,00. Considered very modem for its time it 
served as an example for many jails elsewhere. It was fitted 
with what was then considered superb confining equipment, 
and is still in use on West Washington street just west of the 
County Court House on a site where Abraham Anderson once 
brewed his famous lager and where he dug his gloomy caverns 
in which it aged. 

It wasn't until 1857 that Belleville's city government acquired 
a home of its own. Prior to that time its meetings were held 
wherever the city fathers designated a place. In 1855 though, 
a definite date— the first Monday of each month— was set by 

In the year 1857, a new engine house was built on the north 
side of East A street about half way between North Illinois 


and High streets, and its second floor served as the meeting 
place of the city council It was a substantial brick building 
of which the city was very proud. A new fire bell was acquired 
in 1859 and placed in the council room. 

But it was not until 1869 that a city hall was erected. It was 
built on the Market Square, adjoining the eastern end of the 
Market House and standing approximately fift>' feet from North 
High street. Its architectural lines followed those of the Greek 
Revival period. It was a two-story brick building and in its 
upper story it housed, not only the city offices, but the library 
of the Belleville Saengerbund and Library Society as well. 
The lower floor was used as an engine house. Here the city 
officials met until April 19, 1873. 

In 1872 the congregation of the Presbyterian Church, which 
then was located on North Illinois street where the present 
Bell Telephone company's building now stands, purchased a 
lot on South High street for the purpose of erecting a new 
church. Because of its proximity to the other city property, the 
citv council deemed it wise to buy the old building when the 
elders decided to sell it for $4,500. After renovation the first 
floor was used as the meeting for the council and contained 
the office of the citv clerk and the city marshal. Its basement 
was used as the "calaboose" or jail. Fire bells were placed in 
its turret, for in those days a fire alarm was always sounded by 
the ringing of bells. High wooden steps that ascended from the 
north and south, led up to the porch that extended across the 
front of this building which remained the seat of city govern- 
ment until the present City Hall was built in 1892. 

On October 23, 1891, the city council ordered the purchase 
of the property on the corner of Illinois and Washington streets 
for the purpose of building a new and larger city hall. The 
purchase price agreed upon was $4,500, but because of the 
city's indebtedness construction was not started until March 
5/1892. ■ 


In that year the board of directors of the Belleville Public 
Library submitted a proposal to the city council, together with 
plans and specifications, for the approval of the erection of a 
building which would be built in the library's name but 
could be used for both library and city hall purposes. The 
city agreed to this and at once appropriated $53,600 for the cost 
of the building. The library was to occupy the second floor 
and the city offices the lower. The Library remained here until 
it moved into its present building in 1916. The city then took 
over the entire building and the first meeting of the city 
council was held in the old library quarters on August 7, 1917. 


A modem poet has said, "Show me the churches and the 
cemeteries of a community and I will tell you the Godliness 
and the spirituaHty of its people." Applying this to Belleville 
with its many beautiful churches and well-kept cemeteries one 
may rest assured that this quotation casts no reflections on the 
religion and culture of Belleville citizens, who are proud of the 
fact that about seventy per cent of its people are affiliated with 
some church. We have long realized that mankind cannot pass 
through lite without some philosophy and virtue obtained from 
religion and its teachings. We would, perhaps, relapse into a 
savage state were we not sustained by the law of "Love thy 
neighbor as thyself.'" 

In the early days of this community there were no churches. 
Clergymen were very scarce and their visits were like those of 
angels, few and far between. Yet our forefathers were a pious 
lot, belonging to a God-fearing generation. They firmly believed 
in a life after death and that they could some day ascend to 

In building the early churches, women played a ver\' im- 
portant part. In fact, many helped to lay their foundations not 
in the sense of mixing the mortar and laying bricks, but through 


their untiring effort of giving suppers, bazaars, and food sales. 

Some of these early places of worship stand today as mon- 
uments to the Supreme Being. Their walls are of brick and 
stone of another era, worn by age, yet mellowed by time to a 
greater beauty. They are a monument to the spiritual lives that 
dwell within, of the faith of God that lives in the hearts of 
men that built these structures. Therein lies the greatest beauty 
of all churches. 

The oldest Protestant church in St. Clair county to have had 
a continued existence is the Methodist Church at Shiloh. The 
oldest Catholic church in Illinois is the one at Cahokia built 
by Father F. Panet, S. J. in 1700. The oldest Catholic church 
in Belleville was built on the present site of St. Peter's Cathedral 
in 1843, with Father Kuenster as its first regular priest. Before 
his coming here, missionaries from Cahokia visited the area 
and offered the Holy Sacrifice of Mass in private homes which 
stood in the present 300 block of South Illinois street. 

Today there are approximately thirty churches in Belleville, 
representing practically every denomination, each one having a 
worthy history of its own, but space will permit only the name 
and location of most of them. They are arranged according to 
the date of their construction, and are as follows: 


1831 First Baptist North Jackson and "B" 

Rev. Russell T. Phillips 

1832 Union Methodist 10 East Washington 

Rev. Dr. W. L. Hanhaum 
1839 First Presbyterian 225 South High 

Rev. Dr. Frank Eversull 
1839 St. Paul's Evangelical 2nd and West "B" 

Rev. B. ]. Koehler 
1842 St. Peter's Cathedral 3rd and Harrison 

Rev. Msgr. Raymond L. Harhaugh 




Zion Lutheran 

Rev. C. Thomas Spitz 
Latter Day Saints 

Rev. ]. Edward Nicholson, ]r 
St. George's Episcopal 

Rev. Percy Miller 
St. Luke's 

Rev. F. A. Kaiser 
Christ Evangelical 

Rev. Alfred F. Schroeder 

St. Mary's 

Rev. Joseph Orlet 
Epworth Methodist 

Rev. Dr. L. S. McKown 
First Divine Scientist 

Rev. Emma Stolherg 
Signal Hill Lutheran 

Rev. William A. Wenger 
Signal Hill Methodist 

Rev. H. C. Brown 
Beth Israel Synagogue 

"A" and Church 

2020 West Main 

105 East "D" 

201 North Church 

24 North 14th 

1716 West Main 

4715 Walter 

311 East Lincoln 

8100 West Main 

45 South 95th 

227 North High 

Rahhi Abraham Hartman 
First Church of Christ Scientist 112 North Jackson 

Rev. H. L. Starling 
Blessed Sacrament 8505 West Main 

Rev. Louis F. Ell 
St. Henry's 5301 West Main 

Rev. Edward Killian O.M.I. 
St. Theresa 1100 Lebanon Ave. 

Very Rev. Wm. Hoff 
First Christian 30th and West Main 

Rev. Dale Wilhoit 


1935 Trinity Evangelical 47 North Douglas 

Rev. Theodore Rasche 

1936 Full Gospel Tabernacle "B" and Church 

Rev. T. M. Kimherlin 
1942 Apostolic (Pentecostal) LaSalle and Sherman 

Rev. Paul Froese 
1942 Bethel Temple 805 Scheel 

Rev. ]. O. Underwood 
1950 Westview Baptist Church 24th and West Main 

Rev. Eugene T. Pratt 
1950 Latter Day Saints 611 East McClintock 

Rev. Dudley Brown 

Many church societies, most of these women's groups, exist 
today to help the church financially. Some were organized when 
the church was founded and are still functioning. Without 
these organizations many churches could not exist. 

One of the oldest of these organizations is the Altar Society 
of St. Mary's Parish functioning under the name of the Senior 
Ladies' Sodality. It originated in 1894, the year the church 
was dedicated. Miss Mary Graul was its first prefect. 

The Rosary Confraternity of St. Peter's Cathedral, for both 
men and women members, was established in 1865 with 
Theodore Sickman as its first president. In 1860 the St. Vincent 
Orphan Society, and in 1870 the Young Ladies' Sodality were 

The Ladies' Aid Society of St. Paul's Church was organized 
more than 75 years ago, with Mrs. Fredericka Wehrle as its 
first president. A complete record of the minutes of this society 
is one of its proud possessions. 

On October 20, 1871 the Ladies Aid Society of the Jackson 
Street Methodist Church was organized by Mrs. Hienz, the 
wife of the pastor at that time, who was also its first president. 

The Women's Foreign Missionary Society of the First 


Methodist Church came into being in 1872 with Mrs. VViHing 
as its first president. 

The Lutheran Aid Society, with Mrs. Loos as the first pres- 
ident, was estabhshed in 1876. 

The Ladies' Aid Society of Christ Church, the oldest women's 
organization of that congregation, was organized in 1893 with 
Mrs. Phillip Schmitt as president. 

The oldest society in the First Baptist Church is the Halcyon 
Club whose first members met in 1896 at the home of Mrs. 
M. W. Weir, with Miss Sophie Weir as its first president. 

The Art Needle Work Society is the oldest women's organiza- 
tion in St. George's Episcopal Church. It was established in 
1896 with Mrs. Amelia Reineke as its first president. 


When, in 1814, the county seat was transferred from 
Cahokia to Belleville, a number of Catholics also moved here. 
Among these early settlers were the Pensoneau, Munie, Joffray, 
Mersinger, Adam, Fegan, Boul, Germain, Rabo, Stauder, 
Priegler, Karlskind, Pfeiffer, Perrin, Lutz, and Fournie families. 
The nearest church then was at Cahokia, and these early 
people attended services there until visiting priests held Mass 
in their homes. 

The first written record of Mass being celebrated in Belleville 
was entered on the Cahokia records December 8 and 9, 1836, 
by Father Louisel, who stated that he said Mass at the home 
of Mr. Chandler, and that fifteen or twenty persons attended 
each day. In 1837, John O'Brien donated land on which to 
build a church. Reverend Charles Meyer, stationed at Prairie 
Du Long from 1838 to 1843, visited Belleville every two months 
and said Mass at first in the old court house and later in the 
home of the Huber familv. In 1842 arrived the first resident 
pastor named Reverend Joseph Kuenster, and soon a two-acre 
tract was bought from Mr. Joseph Meyer for his church. The 


cornerstone was laid by the Rt. Rev. Bishop Peter R. Kenrick 
of St. Louis, in 1843. The first church was sixty by forty feet, 
but because of a shortage of finances, progress was slow. 

The next pastor was Reverend C. H. Osdangenberg, and 
by this time his parish consisted of 130 families whose nation- 
ality backgrounds were German, French, Irish, and Bohemian. 
The first church, completed and dedicated by Bishop William 
Quarter of Chicago in May, 1847, was used until 1863 when 
it was replaced by another. The cornerstone of the second 
church was laid by Bishop H. D. Juncker of Alton. It was 
completed in 1866 at a cost of $87,000 and dedicated on 
November 6, 1866. 

This church remained in use until January 4, 1912, when 
at six o'clock in the evening a fire, due to defective wiring, or 
some other cause, completely destroyed its interior and the 
roof. So far as is known, Joseph B. Reis of South Illinois 
street turned in the alarm to the Jackson Street fire department. 
George Kohl, the ten-year old son of Emil J. Kohl, discovered 
the blaze, which started underneath the roof. The boy notified 
Mr. Reis, who immediately turned in the alarm. The next 
morning the walls of the building and the spire were all that 
remained. Thus, the second building, then known as St. 
Peter's Cathedral, entailed a loss of perhaps $100,000. 

Labor, worry, details of finance and supervision followed 
the building of the third cathedral. The building committee 
consisted of Messrs. H. G. Reis, J. J. Gundlach, George C. 
Rebhan, Joseph B. Reis, Dominic Bauer, and Peter Fellner. 

In October, 1913, the present cathedral was completed, the 
largest, most massive, dignified, and beautiful church of the 

The first great event celebrated in it was the consecration 
of the Rt. Rev. Henry Althoff on February 24, 1914. In 
preparation for the event, the interior of this towering Gothic 
structure was redecorated to make what today is believed to be 


one of the most beautiful buildings in the Middle West. In 
that same year also occured the elevation of the pastor of the 
Cathedral, the Rev. Joseph Mueller, to the rank of Domestic 
Prelate, which honor gives him the title of the Right Reverend 
Monsignor Joseph M. Mueller. 

On January 7, 1887, the Diocese of Belleville was created 
and the city was selected as the seat of a bishopric. On April 
25, 1888, Bishop John Janssen was consecrated as the first 
bishop of the diocese. 

On September 23, 1934, the first native of Belleville to 
receive the title of monsignor, the Very Rev. M. J. Gruenewald, 
was invested wdth the title, together with the office of Papal 
Chamberlin. The Most Rev. Henry Althoff presided at the 
investiture. The investiture ceremonies for the Very Rev. 
Msgr. John F. Fallon of Belleville took place at the same time 
at Notre Dame Academy. He had been resident chaplain of 
the academy but now became the first diocesan school super- 

Celebrating the Golden Jubilee of the Diocese of Belleville, 
which has been an Episcopal See for over fifty years, was of 
interest to all Catholics of not only this district but of neighbor- 
ing ones. This district extends as far south as Cairo and contains 
approximately 70,000 Catholics. On the same day the Rev. 
Henry Althoff, the Bishop of Belleville, was also honored, for 
it was the Silver Jubilee of his consecration. 

In that same year, 1939, its Centennial, St. Peter's Cathedral 
was also consecrated to the service of God. 


The Protestant churches too had early representation in the 
community for as early as 1779 the Rev. J. W. Lee preached 
the First Methodist sermon in the city, although it was not until 
1832 that a Methodist church was built. It stood at the north- 
east corner of West Washington and South Third streets. 


According to James Affleck, one of the earliest pioneers, its 
bell was the first church bell to be rung in Belleville. The bell 
was too heavy for the building, so it was suspended in a 
walnut tree that stood on the premises. Among the early circuit 
riders, for that is how the early pastors were known as they 
travelled from church to church to conduct services, were John 
Dew, Samuel Thompson, William L. Deneen, Joseph Edmon- 
son, and John S. Barger. 

The present Methodist Church, located on East Washington 
street, was dedicated on December 23, 1849, by Rev. Went- 
worth. Its cost was between seven and eight thousand dollars. 
Rev. Rutledge was pastor at the time. The parsonage was built 
in 1859. It was in that year also that a gas lighting system was 
installed in the church. A new organ was installed in November 
1873, and in November 1878 the Heinzelman Brothers donated 
a 1500 pound bell for the new steeple. In 1937 Mrs. Florence 
Rayhill, widow of Dr. Charles G. Rayhill, donated the present 
organ in memory of her husband. 

The First Baptist Church of Belleville was organized on 
September 17, 1831. Its first meeting was held in the "Brick 
Hall" that stood on the corner of South High and Lincoln 
streets. In 1833 it held its services in the court house, but in 
May, 1844, the congregation contracted for a church building 
of its own. This they built on the present site of the Penny Store 
at 213-215 East Main street. It was a brick building, thirty by 
forty feet, and it was dedicated on September 20, 1845, the 
dedication sermon being delivered by Elder James Lemen. Its 
steeple was added in 1853 and it was then that the town clock 
was placed therein. 

The congregation used this building as a place of worship 
until 1880, when they sold it to C. A. Monk, who used it as 
farm implement store. The church services were then held 
in the Rentchler Building, which stood where the Sears- 
Roebuck store now stands. 


Meanwhile, the church purchased the corner of Jackson and 
East B streets, the former site of the old Presbyterian Church. 
Here the present church was erected at a cost of $12,000, and 
was dedicated in June, 1883, by Rev. Kenrick. 

In June, 1887, the old Presbyterian Church, which had been 
built on that corner in 1839 by T, H. Kimber, and which was 
later used as a residence for himself, was torn down to make 
place for a parsonage, which cost $2,200. In 1906 a memorial 
window, honoring the Rev. J. M. Peck, a former pastor, was 
placed in the church. Until 1921, the church was known as 
the Baptist Church of Belleville. It was then that its name 
was changed to The First Baptist Church of Belleville. 

In the early 1800's the only Presbyterian minister who visited 
this city was the Rev. James Gallaher, who arrived at various 
intervals. But in 1833 the first church was organized by the 
Rev. J. F. Brooks, to be disbanded, however, in 1837. In 1839, 
it was reorganized and it is from this beginning that the First 
Presbyterian Church of today took root. 

Its first building stood at the present site of the First Baptist 
Church, and services were held there until 1844. In November 
of that year the new church, located on North Illinois street 
at the corner of East A street, was dedicated. Its basement was 
used for school purposes, for in the early days schools were 
conducted in some of the church buildings. In I860 the church 
was damaged to the extent of $100 by fire, but it 
continued to hold its services there until the present Presbyterian 
Church was erected in 1873 at a cost of $20,000. 

The cornerstone of this building was laid in July, 1874. The 
copper box imbedded in it contained a Diamond copy of the 
Old and New Testament, a shorter Catechism, a historical 
sketch of the church, the sermon delivered at the time of its 
removal from the old building, the list of church members, 
a list of subscribers to the Memorial Fund, the names 
of the Trustees, the New York Evangelist, which contained 


a sketch of the Presbyterian Church in Missouri, local news- 
papers, specimens of coins and fractional currency of the United 
States, the program of the cornerstone laying, with names of 
participating ministers and a statement of Professor L. Swift 
regarding the "Comet Now in the Heavens." Two years later, 
in July 1876 the church was dedicated. Its pastor at the time 
was the Rev. O. S. Thompson. Several years ago the entire 
church was redecorated and is today one of the outstanding 
churches in Belleville. 

There are three Evangelical churches in Belleville, the St. 
Paul's Evangelical, the Christ Church Evangelical, and the 
Trinity Reformed Evangelical. 

The former dates back to 1835, when Rev. J. Ries conducted 
services in the Court House, although it wasn't until 1839 that 
a constitution was drafted and a regular pastor, the Rev. William 
Flickinger, was named. He was a graduate of the University 
at Erlangen and received an annual salary of $150. The first 
church stood on a litde hill where now the Franklin school 
stands. That little church, which cost $413, was used as a place 
of worship by both Protestants and Catholics, and also as a 
school. Here also the Saengerbund had its meetings, and it 
also housed their library. It served in that early day as a sort 
of community house for the cultured Germans. 

St. Paul's Church is sometimes spoken of as the first Pro- 
testant church here. However, early records disprove this, show- 
ing that there were other Protestant denominations in the field 
at the same time, and even a litde earlier. It is, in all probability 
the first Protestant church of German language in Southern 

The original church dates to about 1850, although it 
continued as a school for some years thereafter. Practically no 
Evangelical services were held between 1857 and 1859. But 
then the congregation was reorganized by a few faithful ones 
who built the present church in 1861 at a cost of $4,721. The 


original church was sold for $200. In the years that followed 
more church property has been acquired and many improve- 
ments and additions have been made. An imposing $12,000 
parsonage flanks the church on the east, while a spacious hall 
is on the west. Its membership is constantly increasing, and 
much of this is due to their popular pastor, the Rev. B. J. 
Koehler, who has devoted himself unstintingly and tirelessly 
in promoting the welfare of the church. 

Christ Evangelical Church, located at the corner of West 
A and North Fourteenth streets, was organized in 1893. Rev. 
Louis Von Rague, its first pastor, charted the church through 
its difficult first five years. During that period of time the 
present church was constructed and its Sunday School organized. 
The first services of the congregation were held on the second 
floor of what is now Engine House No. 2. In the ensuing years 
many improvements have been added to the church property, 
making it one of the outstanding places in the West End. In 
1913, a $10,000 church hall was erected, and in 1928 a modern 
annex was added. 

The Trinity Reformed Evangelical Church, an off-shoot of 
St. Paul's was organized in the spring of 1934 as a Mission 
Sunday School, but in the following January, it attained the 
status of a church. Its first services were conducted in the 
Community House at the northwest comer of South Charles 
and East Washington streets. Rev. James V. Ingram was its 
first pastor. In June, 1936, the congregation purchased the 
Henry Ehret home at 47 North Douglas avenue, and this new- 
ly renovated edifice was dedicated as a church on December 13, 
1936, and its religious services have been held there and will 
continue to be held there until the new church is completed. 

It was on March 17, 1861, that Zion Lutheran Church was 
organized by a group of thirty members, and its ser\dces were 
held in a litde chapel on North Jackson street. In 1862 this 
small group of Lutherans purchased the lot on which the present 


church stands, paying $500 for the same. Here, for $864, they 
erected a small building, which served both as a church and 
a school, for at that time, they had already secured a teacher 
to undertake the education of their children. The new church 
flourished and in 1867 a parsonage was erected next to the 

The congregation soon outgrew the little church and in 1880 
it erected the present church building. Its steeple was 128 feet 
high and it contained two bells. A new organ was also installed 
and the completed church came to $10,000. In 1887 the 
adjoining lot and house east of the church was bought, and the 
parsonage was moved to it. Some few years ago an attractive 
new parsonage was erected back of the church and facing 
North Church street, most of the labor in its construction being 
donated by members. The Rev. Thomas Spitz is its present 

St. George's Episcopal Church is the only Episcopal church 
in the city. On Februar)' 5, 1880, fourteen Belleville men and 
women met with the Rev. J. G. Wright of St. Louis to 
consider the formation of a mission Episcopal church. At the 
time of its establishment it was known as St. Luke's Mission. 
Its first meetings were held in a building at North Jackson and 
A streets. The cornerstone of the present church was laid in 
the fall of 1882, and on February 21, 1884, the new church 
was dedicated by the Rev. F. Seymore, Bishop of Springfield. 
The church was designed by William Hume of New York and 
was built by C. Daehnert. Its windows are of rolled cathedral 
glass. Its first organ was a gift of St. Paul's Church in Spring- 
field, Illinois, but in July, 1896, a new one was bought. 
The church is located at the corner of North High and East 
D streets. Adjoining it on the east stands the rectory, which was 
built at a cost of $3,200 in 1902. 

The German Methodist Church, now known as the Jackson 
Street Methodist Episcopal church, was organized in 1848 


by the German Methodists in the community. In 1850 they 
bought from the Enghsh Methodists the htde church at the 
northeast corner of South Third and West Washington streets. 
Here they met to worship until 1864 when they bought the 
church and school property of the Rev. Homeier on South 
Jackson street for $8,000. This little church had been built in 
1858 as an Evangelical church under the Rev. Homeier. The 
school building was torn down later to make room for the 
parsonage. The steeple was added in 1865 and the next year 
the church bell was bought. In 1911 the church was entirely 
remodeled and furnished at a cost of $4,000. In 1950 it merged 
with the First Methodist and is no longer used for services. 


The history of the Catholic school system dates back to the 
year 1848, when the Rev. Casper H. Ostlanbenberg, pastor of 
the old St. Peter's Church now the Cathedral, established the 
first Catholic school in the city, a grade school for both boys and 
girls located on the corner of Third and Harrison streets, 
which was then, as it is now, the site of the church grounds. 
This first Catholic church was a frame building costing about 
$300 and the school was held in the basement of the church 
until the new school-house, adjacent to the church, was com- 
pleted. Here it remained until 1863, when it was moved to 
another location on Harrison street. 

Other Catholic grade schools and the year in which they 
were established are: St. Luke's, 1881; St. Mary's, 1894; St. 
Henry's, 1925; Blessed Sacrament, 1926; St. Theresa's, 1926. 

During the Civil War days the Immaculate Conception 
Academy staffed by nuns was established for girls, and later 
developed into the present Notre Dame Academy. The corner- 
stone for this high school was laid on July 27, 1924, by the 
Rt. Rev. H. Althoff, D. D., Bishop of Belleville, and the 
completed building was dedicated on September 6, 1925. It 


was a four-year high school and boarding school for girls and 
was in charge of the Sisters of Notre Dame. 

The Rev. F. H. Budde, pastor of St. Peter's established a 
school for boys, then known as St. Peter's Institute, which 
eventually grew into the Cathedral High School of today. The 
Brothers of Mary began teaching in it in 1905 and have 
continued so to this day. This four-year high school with 
an approximate enrollment of 200 boys, is recognized by 
the Illinois state department, the University of Illinois, and the 
North-Central Association. The faculty consists of four priests, 
nine brothers, and one layman. 

On August 6, 1926, the cornerstone of a $50,000 structure 
for St. Henri's College was laid. It is a preparator)' school 
for young men studying for the priesthood, but includes also 
other studies in its curricula. On September 13, 1938, LeClerc, 
a four years liberal arts college, was opened for the women. 
The teachers in the institution were members of the Sisters of 
Notre Dame and the Very Rev. Monsignor John J. Fallon was 
the president of the institution. In 1949 it was discontinued 
as a college and the building is used today by the students of 
Notre Dame. 

In 1861, the Zion Lutheran Church purchased a lot on the 
comer of Church and A streets and erected a building to be 
used for church and school purposes. The Rev. Mangelsdort 
was the first pastor of the church and the first teacher of the 
school. The present Lutheran school is at the Southwest corner 
of Charles and Washington streets. 

There are today nine Catholic and one Lutheran grade 
schools which have a combined enrollment of approximately 
fifteen hunderd students. The Catholic schools have continued 
to grow and today include kindergarten, grade, and high schools. 
Sixt\'-six sisters and nine brothers instruct the students attend- 
ing these various schools today. 



The first public school in this community was one built at 
Turkey Hill, but it was only a few years later that Belleville 
could boast of the beginning of the fine educational system 
which it has today. Its earliest schools had their beginnings in 
the travelling schoolmaster, the private school, the subscription 
school, the church school, and early school associations. Its 
schools today with their modern buildings and highly trained 
staffs of teachers have travelled a far way from the one-room 
schools and poorly educated schoolmasters of the past. 

Much of its present educational system is owed to the efforts 
of two German intellectuals who were forced to flee from their 
homeland after the unsuccessful revolution in 1833. The first 
one of these was George Bunsen, who belonged to the liberal 
class, left Germany and emigrated to America, leaving his 
mark forever on the local culture. 

He had always been interested in education, and when he 
was a delegate to the State Constitutional Convention in 1847 
he tried to establish a state normal school. His ideas, however, 
were so far in advance of others that his plan was rejected. 
Nevertheless due to his later efforts. Normal University, at 
Normal, Illinois, was established. 

While on his farm Mr. Bunsen taught his neighbors' children, 
named Schott and Reuss, and in 1855 he taught his first 
public school in Shiloh Valley. He didn't remain here very 
long, for he soon became the country school commissioner, 
today known as the county superintendent of schools, and moved 
to Belleville in 1857. 

Another of these German educators, Henry Raab, became 
interested in education after George Bunsen persuaded him 
to enter the teaching profession. In 1858 he became a teacher 
in West Belleville, and later, the principal of the Washington 
School. In 1873 he succeeded Bunsen as city superintendent 
of schools, and in 1882 was elected state superintendent of 


schools. When his term expired in 1886, he returned to Belle- 
ville and was appointed city superintendent. In 1890 he was 
again elected state superintendent, but when this second term 
expired, he returned to Belleville and retired from active teach- 
ing. The high standard of Belleville's public school system today 
owes much to the foundations laid by these two American 
pioneers from Germany. 

In those early days janitor service was almost unknown, for 
most schools were serviced by the students, who usually made 
the fire and did the necessary dusting. 

A free school law was enacted in Illinois in 1825, but Belle- 
ville did not organize a city school system until later when a 
better one was enacted in 1855. It was not until April, 1856, 
that free public schools were opened. In each ward, there was 
a primary school for boys and girls, and one was also established 
in West Belleville. Besides there were two grammar schools, 
one for boys and one for girls. The boys were taught by Messrs. 
Dennis and Fuller, each receiving a salary of $450. The girls' 
department of the grammar school was under the tutorship of 
Mrs. Charles Edwards and Miss Nancy Hough, the first having 
an annual salary of $450, while the latter received $350 a year. 
Summer vacations began July 25 and ended August 25. How- 
ever, the school day was much shorter than it is now. The first 
high school in St. Clair county was established in Belleville 
in 1858. 

In 1859 a hectic school election was held, with the people 
having to decide two important questions at the polls. The first 
of these was whether or not German should be compulsory, 
and the other was to determine if the regular term should be 
ten months. The candidates favoring both the German and the 
long term of school, won the election. 

The first official document regarding public schools dates 
back to 1847, when three school directors were elected. By 
1855 the town boasted eleven schoolrooms. However, one gets 


a fair idea of school conditions at that time, when the school 
director's report showed that one teacher had one hundred and 
tifty-six pupils, and that several of the teachers had no certifi- 
cates, and that none of them kept records of any kind. In 1855 
the total enrollment was 682, and of these 17 students came 
from out of town. The teaching staff numbered fourteen. 

In 1850 the Belleville Literary Society was organized. Its 
object was, as stated in its by-laws, "... the promotion of 
education, science, and literature, by procuring and furnishing 
suitable buildings and grounds in the city of Belleville for the 
use of schools established by the Belleville School Association, 
and for scientific purposes in general." They issued thirty-seven 
shares of stock at one hundred dollars per share to the following 
members: Theodore Krafft, Henry Goedeking, Joseph Kircher, 
Philip B. Fouke, Thomas James, D. M. Hopkins, Charles T. 
Elles, Samuel B. Chandler, William C. Kinney, Edward Abend, 
Nathaniel Niles, H. Schleth, William Lorey, T. Heberer, 
John Scheel, Dr. H. D. Berchelmann, Taylor and Williams, 
William H. Underwood, Charles Merck, Theodore Engelmann, 
Peter Wilding, John Reynolds, Julius Raith, George T. Neu- 
hoff, Jacob Knoebel, Conrad Borman, J. L. D. Morrison, Ed- 
ward Tittmann, C. Tittmann, James Affleck, Mace and Heely, 
Dr. E. Joerg, J. W. Pulliam, Russell Hinckley, Gustav Koerner, 
and James Shields. 

Henry Goedeking was its president, and Charles T. Elles, 
its secretary-treasurer. One of the first things they did was 
to buy the Odd Fellows hall (the present Lincoln Hotel build- 
ing). Shortly thereafter they rented it to the Belleville School 
Association for school purposes. However in 1863, wanting to 
sell the building, they asked the school to vacate, which it 
finally did in 1867. In February of 1868, Russell Hinckley, Sr., 
bought the building and converted it into a hotel known as the 
Hinckley House. Mr. Hinckley paid $125 for each share of 
the stock. 


It was then that the School Association decided to erect its 
own school building, but the project was voted down several 
times, finally passing in 1865. Bonds in the amount of 
$94,950, with interest at 10 per cent, were then sold. There- 
upon the first Washington School was built in 1865 at a cost 
of $40,910.20. The first Franklin School was completed next 
in 1867 at a cost of $56,451.34. 

West Belleville, although an independent community, never- 
theless belonged to the local school district. When Theodore 
Hilgard laid out that little village he donated Lot 469 to be 
used for school purposes. Through public subscription, a small 
school house — The Lincoln — was established, which in 
1864 was leased for $1.00 for 99 years to School District 4, 
later District 118. This transaction makes the Lincoln School 
probably the oldest school house in the district. Shortly after the 
erection of the Washington and the Franklin Schools an ad- 
dition, costing $2,316.20 was added to the Lincoln School. 

Prior to 1873, the administration of the schools was in the 
hands of school directors. But in 1873 the first school board 
was elected. Its members were William Maus, F. J. Staufenbiel, 
Henry A. Kircher, George Harvey, Henry Brua, and Theodore 

A liberalizing influence entered the Illinois school system in 
1870 when the new state constitution eliminated the word 
"white" from the school laws, thus assuring Negro children the 
same education as others. 

German influence has contributed much in directing edu- 
cation in the public schools. The kindergarten is definitely a 
German contribution, and Belleville was one of the first cities 
in the United States to establish such a system for children 
of pre-school age. 

Earliest mention of kindergartens in the community seems 
to have been in 1849-1850, when W. Frank and J. Fraus 
each attempted to conduct one. However, no word of their 


success or failure seem to have been recorded. Mr. Fraus 
married a Miss Marie Boelte, who had a reputation of being 
a pioneer in the kindergarten development. 

The first permanent kindergarten to be established here was 
a private one. It was in 1874 that the Kindergarten Association 
was organized with a membership of one hundred fifty local 
ladies. Mrs. Gustav Koerner was its president; Mrs. William 
H. Snyder, its vice-president; Mrs. Henry Raab, secretary; and 
Miss Josephine Bissel, treasurer. The organization issued seventy 
shares of stock at thirty dollars per share. In April 1875 it was 
housed in its new $5,000 building. At that time there were 
201 children enrolled and three teachers employed. The average 
cost per pupil was approximately $20 per annum. This con- 
tinued until 1892, when the organization sold its building to 
the Philharmonic Society. 

Again in 1907 another kindergarten association was formed 
and classes were held in the city council's chamber. It was 
maintained by the Kindergarten Association until 1915 when it 
definitely became a part of the regular school system. 

The educators of the city, in 1876, pondered over the 
problem of whether or not to open the public schools for the 
teaching of an evening course in shorthand, in those days 
referred to as phonography. About 100 people had applied for 
admission to such classes. Consequently the question arose, 
"Is this study of sufficient importance for the city to hire a 
special teacher to impart this knowledge?" The question was 
finally settled in the affirmative, and before long, students were 
given instructions in phonography. 

By 1880 the city educational system was comprised of four 
schools: the Lincoln, which was remodeled in 1865 and is 
now used as a storehouse; the Washington, erected in 1865; 
the Franklin, constructed in 1867; and the Bunsen, built in 

Belleville always enjoyed a reputation for cleanliness. This 


trait was also made very evident in a decision made by the Board 
of Education in 1894, decreeing that the basements of two of 
the schools should be fitted with bathtubs to be used by children 
found by the truant officer, and others, to be in need of a bath. 
The boys who needed a bath received their scrubbing under 
the supervision of the school janitor, and the girls were super- 
vised by the janitress. The bathtub has long since disappeared 
from the grade school, and the shower has taken its place in 
some of the later modern school buildings. 

Since 1917 a school nurse has been employed and paid a 
regular salary. Some of her duties are as follows: (1) inspect 
all pupils in September for symptoms of communicable diseases; 
(2) visit each school once a week; (3) give each student a sight 
test; (4) examine teeth and throat; (5) keep a record of each 
student; (6) make home visits to secure correction of remedial 
defects; and (7) assist in school dental clinics. The nurse at 
present is Mrs. Dorothy Nehrkorn. 

Of all the people who have been on the school board, John 
Weber served the longest. He was first elected in 1876 and 
served continuosly until 1904, a period of 28 years. The man 
who served longest as a president of the board is Henry C. G. 
Schrader, who was elected in 1931 and retired in 1941, establish- 
ing a record of ten years. 

During the entire 104 years (1847-1951) of Belleville's public 
school system, only three women served as members of the school 
board. iMiss Johanna Lorey, a retired teacher, served for a period 
of two years, 1922 to 1924, and Mrs. Bessie Steingoetter was 
a member from 1923 to 1937, a period of fourteen years, and 
Miss Ruth Sterling will have served seven years when her 
present term expires in 1951. 

Excluding the Lincoln School, which today is used for storage 
purposes, and the Central School, which was razed in 1941, 
there are nine grade schools. These and the dates of their con- 
struction are as follows: (1) Humboldt, 1882; (2) Douglas, 


1893; (3) Henry Raab, 1906; (4) Jefferson, 1912; (5) Dewey, 
1928; (6) new Bunsen, 1929; (7) new Washington, 1930; 
(8) new Franklin, 1930; (9) Union, 1939. All of these except 
the Humbolt and Douglas, are modern and are sturdily cons- 
tructed and well ventilated. The most modern of these is the 
Union School, a strictly up-to-date and fireproof building that 
replaced the old structure which was destroyed by a tornado on 
March 15, 1938. All the school grounds are well graded and 
attractively landscaped. 

The grade schools include the first six grades and the pre- 
school kindergartens. The Junior High School, located at the 
comer of East Lincoln and South Illinois streets, contains 
grades seven and eight for the entire district. 

In all there are 93 teachers and supervisors in the public 
school system. Its buildings are valued at $2,280,187, while the 
valuation of School District 118 is $77,500,000, and the tax 
rate is 59 cents. 

Work in the Junior High Shool is departmental and is under 
the supervision of a competent staff of well-trained teachers. 
Music and physical education are taught throughout the grades 
and in Junior High School. In the latter, art, cooking, sewing, 
and manual training are also taught. 

The city superintendents who have served in the public 
schools since the establishment of the public school system have 
been George Bunsen, Henry Raab, H. K. Updike, J. K. Light, 
George Busiek, Oscar Weber, Arthur Odenweller, W. A. 
Hough, Harold V. Calhoun, L. W. Van Lanigham, and Ed- 
ward L. Allen. 

One of the outstanding events of the school year is the 
School Picnic. It is the day when all work ceases and the entire 
town observes the occasion. The main event of the picnic is, 
of course, the school parade that precedes the picnic. Children 
from all the schools assemble at each one to form the gaily- 
colored procession that is interspersed with bands and drum 


corps. Throngs of spectators line the streets for blocks. 

Some classes elected captains to strut along the side of the 
children in the parade. They wore uniforms with epaulets, and 
tin swords swung from their belts. There were May queens 
and flower girls, and the singing of "America" was carefully 
rehearsed for weeks. Arriving at the Fairgrounds the children 
gathered around the grandstand where they sang "America" to 
the accompaniment of the official band. There was no dispersing 
until this was done. 

The line of march in recent years has been East on Main 
Street from the Public Square to Charles street, counter-march 
to the Square, west on West Main, then north on Second 
street to the Franklin School. Here the students are transported 
on busses to Bellevue Park, the scene of the picnic. 

From the minutes of the Board of Education it is evident 
that the picnic was instituted at a early date, for records of the 
May 1858 meeting show that June 18 was designated as the 
first picnic day in which all the pupils of the public schools 
participated. It was held in the Huff Garden in West Belleville, 
and has been an annual event ever since. Committees are ap- 
pointed to make necessary arrangements, which usually consist 
of the selection of a site, selling of concessions, arrangements 
for bands, selection of the line of march, and choosing the date. 

The earlier school picnics were even more enthusiastically 
celebrated than have been the later ones, for then, in the horse 
and buggy days, there was less social competition and present- 
day restrictions against the sale of beer at the picnic were not 
in effect. 

There formerly was a bar at every school picnic, and a 
popular place it was. It, of course, did not receive the unanimous 
approval of the citizens and every year the Women's Christian 
Temperance Union presented a petition to the school board 
asking it to dispense with the sale of intoxicants at the picnic. 
However, the opposition to the bar was of no avail until 1916 


when the board finally voted to ban the foamy brew. 

Lunches properly labelled, were brought to the grounds free 
of charge. Many mothers brought the family lunch in huge 
baskets, usually covered with a large red and white checked 
tablecloth. There was an ornate merry-go-round, sometimes 
called the "Flying Dutchman," that went 'round and 'round to 
the organ tune of " The Last Rose of Summer." In the afternoon 
teachers would meet their classes at a pre-arranged spot and 
games such as "Cat and Mouse," "Clap-in, Clap-out," etc. were 

Until recently, the picnic was usually held on a Friday in 
May. If it rained the picnic was postponed to the same day of 
the following week. However, that has now been changed, and 
a Wednesday in June is selected. 

Such were the picnics of old. Those of today do not differ 
so greatly from those of yesterday. The merry-go-round is still 
with us, although its tune has changed. The children still march 
as they did then, although not to the old Fairgrounds. 

In pioneer days it was always hard to pass new educational 
measures, since our forefathers, in their frugality, voted against 
new tax levies. As a result of this, many private schools devel- 
oped. It was not until the end of the Civil War that interest 
in education received any attention from the public and this 
period marks the beginning of local high schools. Before that 
day, public education consisted only of the grade schools, but 
in some of these a ninth grade was included, and from that grade 
developed the high school as we know it now. 

The high school in Belleville was created by a resolution 
passed by the Board of Education on February 2, 1858. This 
high school, such as it was, continued in existence until March 
15, 1878, when the board passed another resolution abolishing 
it because the public still believed that its benefits did not 
justify its existence. Even though the high school was dis- 
continued, many of the courses continued to be a part of the 


curriculum and in 1886 the eighth grade included such subjects 
as geometry, German, physiology, algebra, physics, botany, and 

In 1888 all the eighth grades, A and B section, were trans- 
ferred to the new Central School that had just been completed. 
Here Mr. Klein was the principal and Messrs. Brua, Updike, 
and Dapprich were the teachers. In September, 1890, the high 
school was formally opened, and in 1892 the University of 
Illinois placed it on the accredited list. It was a three-year school, 
but in 1908 became a full four-year high school. 

It remained in this building and under the jurisdiction of 
the Board of Education of District 118 until the year 1916. 

On May 12, 1916, a plan for a new high school, to be 
erected somewhere in St. Clair Township, was voted on at a 
special election. By popular vote, the people decided to replace 
the city high school with a township high school. The new 
district included all of St. Clair Township, to which most of 
Belleville belongs. As a result of this election the Township 
High School Board of Education took over the city high school, 
but classes continued to meet in the old building until the 
completion of the new Township High School. 

Three sites were offered as possible locations for the school 
( 1 ) a plot of ground to the east of the city; (2) a plot in the sub- 
urbs of Swansea; (3) a plot called Christy Place in the western 
part of the city. It was put to a vote and the Christy tract was 
chosen. It contained twenty-six acres lying between West Main 
street on the north, the Illinois Central Railroad tracks on the 
south, the Southern Railroad tracks on the west, and within one 
hundred feet of South Twenty-third street on the east. 

On May 16, 1916, the cornerstone for the main building of 
the new school was formally laid with impressive ceremony. 
The exercises opened with a prayer by Rev. Highfield and 
were followed by a speech by Mr. George Niess. In the corner- 
stone located at the northeast corner of the main building, was 


placed a copper box inside of which were placed copies of each 
of the local newspapers, a histor)^ of the organization, a list of 
the teachers of the school and the school officers, a dollar bill, 
a half-dollar, a quarter, a dime, a nickel, a penny, and a message 
for future generations written in pencil on three pages of fool- 
scap paper. 

The Main Building was built by Bauer Brothers and the 
architects were Frank Riester and Otto W. Rubach. It was 
modeled after the New Trier Township High School at Kenil- 
worth, Illinois, and was completed on February 12, 1917. The 
dedication ceremony of the completed building was held on 
June 20 and 21, 1917. 

It began on the evening of June 20, with a speech by State 
Superintendent of Public Instruction, Francis G. Blair. On the 
afternoon of June 21, a bronze tablet was presented by des- 
cendants of four of Belleville's citizens who had been governors 
of Illinois. The tablet was unveiled by Mrs. Mary Isabella 
Wickenhauser, a great-granddaughter of Lieutenant Governor 
William H. Kinney, and by Miss Sylvia Portuondo, a great- 
granddaughter of Governor William Bissel. Present in the au- 
dience at the unveiling were also Mrs. Gustavus A. Koerner, 
a daughter-in-law of Lieutenant Governor Gustavus A. Koerner, 
and a granddaughter of Lieutenant Governor Kinney; Mrs. B. 
H. Ferguson, a granddaughter of Governor Ninian Edwards, 
and Mrs. August Rombauer, a daughter of Lieutenant Governor 

The members of the first Township High School Board of 
Education were as follows: Louis E. Wangelin, president; 
Rollin M. Hayes, secretary; and David O. Thomas, Andrew 
Kissel, Charles Lenz, Fred F. Fleischbein, Julius Heinemann, 
and C. Braunersreuther, board members. 

The faculty at the Township High School in 1916 consisted 
of fifteen teachers headed by H. G. Schmidt, principal, and 
J. H. Yarbrough, assistant principal. Of the original teachers 


remaining today Orena Farmer, Pearl Johnson, F. J. Friedli, 
and John Karch remain. The other teachers at that time were 
EHzabeth Beyer, Ludwig Carl, M. G. Humphrey, Maude Kurre, 
Lester Miner, Henry W. Brua, Estelle Thurston, Grace Bertram, 
Cordelia Gummersheimer, Jennie Knowles, and Kurt Busiek. 
In July 1945 Mr. Schmidt as principal was replaced by Dr. 
Hal O. Hall, while Mr. Fritz Friedli became the assistant 

The cafeteria was added in April, 1917, and was placed under 
the supervision of Mrs. Kathr)'n Jones, who remained in charge 
until July, 1949, when she resigned and was succeeded by 
Miss Jewel Owens. It has a seating capacity of 230 students, 
and approximately 1800 students and teachers are served there 
dailv during the three lunch periods. 

The next buildings added were the present girls gymnasium, 
in 1919, and the auditorium in 1924. The enrollment increased 
greatly so that classrooms also had to be added. In the south 
end of the auditorium are eight rooms available for classes. 
The north side contains an assembly room seating 1,200, where 
all plays, some graduation exercises, concerts, and lyceums are 
held. There the assembly is held for students, faculty, and 
visitors. The programs are put on by the students unless a 
lyceum program has been scheduled. 

The present girls gymnasium was orginally built in 1919 
for the boys, but was turned over to the girls when a larger 
one was completed for the boys in 1937. 

The present library building was added in 1936. It is used 
today for both class and library work. There are ten classrooms 
on the first floor. The second floor contains five rooms and the 
study room, which has tables for 350 students and a library 
of approximately 9,000 volumes and sixty periodicals. 

The new boys gymnasium was completed in 1937 and is 
considered one of the most modern and up-to-date buildings 
of its kind in the state. It is 140 by 117 feet and has a seating 


capacity of 600 people in the permanent seats, 800 in the 
bleachers, and 1,100 in the telescopic bleachers. 

The latest addition to make the Belleville Township High 
School a million dollar plant is its magnificient stadium located 
in the rear of the cafeteria. Work was begun on this by the 
Work Projects Administration (W.P.A.) in March, 1939 and 
it was completed in April, 1940. It is today the finest stadium 
in the Southwest Conference, and is one that many colleges 
would be proud to own. 

At the same time that the stadium was built the school also 
modernized the track and tennis courts. The track is one of the 
finest, containing a baseball diamond in the center, while the 
tennis court is an all-weather one of the best contruction. 

In September 1950, 1330 students enrolled in the local 
public high school. In October 495 more enrolled for night 
school, making a grand total of 1825 students enrolled that 
year. The six massive brick buildings with the half dozen tennis 
courts, track, and stadium are valued at over $1,729,700, while 
that of the district is valued at $118,000,000. 

The seventy-seven members of the faculty teach a total of 
ninety-four different courses. The high school work is divided 
into three main divisions: 1. college preparatory; 2. commercial; 
and 3. industrial. 

The average tax rate is forty-six cents, per $100.00 of assessed 
valuation, while non-resident students each pay a sum of $290 

The high school is approved by the North-Central Association, 
Illinois University, and the State Department of Education. In 
September, 1946 a two year junior college offering twenty-seven 
different courses was added, making Belleville the first in 
Southern Illinois to have such an institution. 

The High School Board today consists of Dr. George E. 
Meyer, president; Miss Ruth Fincke, secretary; and members, 
Elmer Peters, Clarence A. Manring, Eugene G. Hepp, Ernst 


Stein, Herbert Kaufmann, and Russell Thome. 

Belleville today has sixteen grade schools, the Junior High 
School, three high schools and one junior college. Its education- 
al facilities rank high and are the best in Southern Illinois. It 
is a recognized fact that education is the first line of national 
defense, and as such , it should be extended rather than curtailed. 

Horace Mann once said, "A true patriot is known by the 
interest he takes in the education of the young." Education of 
youth must not be neglected, nor should it be permitted to 
suffer any loss of educational opportunity, for our future position 
in the world depends gready upon how well the boys and girls 
are trained. Teachers, as a group, are contributing a noble 
service to the country. 

Although school days constitute only a short span of life, 
they nevertheless present one with programs for life, making 
it easier to choose the right career, and helping to better fulfill 
that career. 

By means of well organized instruction in schools, an op- 
portunity is provided to study the principle of right and profit- 
able living. Schools are maintained with this in view. They 
strive to provide the individual with intelligence to prepare him 
for better living, to make of him a more efficient worker, to 
train for leadership, to encourage more intelligent voting, thus 
making of him the best type of citizen. 

Schools are not the only agencies for education, however, 
for included in these are the church, the home, the library, 
newspapers, magazines, lyceums, public forums, radio, television, 
motion pictures, and playgrounds, all of which are educational 
institutions. The power of the printed page cannot be measured, 
although there is no doubt that much knowledge can be 
acquired by contact and conversation with others who are 
intelligent, either through association, experience or education. 

The school group, though, is the largest medium of education. 
It receives the child at the age of five. It keeps its doors open 


to mature adults. It helps to prepare the young people for their 
responsibility as citizens, which is important because each 
generation profits through the experience of those of the past. 

The creed of the public school is as follows: 

I am the guardian of the hopes of every generation, and I 
am true to my trusts. 

In me, all things are equal. In me are no distinctions among 
those who come to me, except the paramount distinction be- 
tween those who are proud to serve and those who seek only 
to be served. 

It is my duty not only to teach, but equally to learn; to keep 
perpetually a light among my altars, kindling it forever afresh 
from the inextinguishable flame that burns in every young 
heart— the sacred fires of love of knowledge and love of 
.country; for if I succeed, America succeeds. I am the true de- 
mocracy. I am the American school. 


The oldest library in Illinois is the Belleville Public 
Library. It has today (1951) functioned for 115 years, having 
been organized in 1836. 

In the period of rapid German immigration to the Middle 
West in the early 1820's and 1830's, there came to this area 
a group of outstanding persons. They were outstanding for their 
scholarship, culture, and high ideals; all were graduates of 
and professors at German universities. To them the political 
oppression in the Germany of that day had become very 
stiffling, and America with its opportunity for freee speech, 
liberal thinking, and the utter absence of political oppression, 
appealed to them. 

Brilliant reports of the opportunities for scientific farming 
in this fertile area had reached these men and this was the 
incentive for them to try farming as a new means of livelihood. 


However, in translating themselves from German scholars into 
American farmers, they held fast to their love of learning and 
culture. They were known in the surrounding country as "Die 
Lateiner" or "The Latin Farmers." 

They met regularly, usually on Sunday afternoons, for dis- 
cussion of political, social, and economic questions of the day. 
It was at one of these meetings held on the farm of Dr. 
Anton Schott, June 26, 1836, that the idea of a circulating 
library was conceived. Just at this time there was published a 
twelve-volume work of "The Life of George Washington" by 
Jared Sparks, which was expensive and almost prohibitive for 
individual purchase. The burning desire to explore this work 
was no doubt the seed which germinated in the mind of Dr. 

At this time he read a paper setting forth the value of an 
organization of this kind and also showed that each one of the 
group could pool his own private collection of books into a 
central collection for the common use of all. He found his 
audience in a receptive mood and it was agreed to meet again 
on July 17 of that year. 

Fifteen men responded to this invitation and on that day the 
organization was perfected. The constitution and by-laws were 
adopted on August 14, and each member of this group of 
sixteen men subscribed an initiatory fee of $3.00 in consum- 
mation of the plan. Thus the "German Library Society of St. 
Clair County" was established and has functioned continuously 
ever since. George Bunsen was its first president; Theodore 
Hilgard, its first treasurer; and Dr. Anton Schott was appointed 
the first librarian with the library located in his farm home in 
Shiloh Valley. 

The following sixteen gentlemen were the charter members: 
Edouard Hilgard, Fritz A. Wold, Fritz Hilgard, Sr., Theo. 
Engelmann, Theodore Hilgard, Jr., Julius Scheve, Gustav 
Koerner, Dr. Anton Schott, Herman Wolf, George Bunsen, 


Wilhelm Decker, Joseph Ledergerber, Dr. Adolph Reuss, Otto 
Hilgard, Dr. Adolph Berchelmann, and J. C. Hildenbrandt. 

After an existence of four weeks the collection numbered 
93 volumes and at end of the first year it had grown to 346 
volumes. The set of Jared Sparks' "Life of Washington" was 
purchased and this work of twelve volumes is still on the 
shelves of the Belleville Public Library. The members donated 
generously the books from their own individual collections. It is 
a fine index to the patriotism of these new Americans that a 
life of George Washington should have become the nucleus of 
a public library. 

A glance at the financial condition in the first year of this 
infant project is indeed interesting. In the first year twenty-four 
members paid the initiatory fee of $3.00, making the total 
income $72.00. The expenditures were $25.50, leaving a balance 
of $46.50. The finances were closely guarded; the annual 
budget, receipts, and expenditures were laid before the general 
meetings and minutely scrutinized before being adopted. An- 
other example of the foresight of these men was that in April, 
1839, they began the creation of a sinking fund of 20 per cent 
of all receipts toward the erection of a building. 

On February 22, 1839, the library was incorporated by the 
General Assembly of Illinois and the incorporation papers were 
signed by Gov. Theo. Carlin. One of the striking paragraphs 
of this charter was Section 4 which says, "Female members of 
this society shall not be permitted to vote in elections, nor in 
any other cases." 

The hbrary remained in the home of Dr. Schott until March 
13, 1853, when it was moved to Belleville. The collection by 
this time had grown to 1906 volumes, and it was no longer 
expedient for the members, many of whom lived in Belleville 
to go a distance of several miles to Shiloh Valley for the ex- 
change of books. A room was provided by the Belleville Literary 
Society in what was the Odd Fellows' Hall, where the Lincoln 
Hotel now stands. Later the Odd Fellows' Hall came to be used 


as a school building and the library was moved to a room over 
the store of Goedeking and Kircher, where Mr. Joseph Kircher 
acted as librarian without pay. 

The library remained here until December 16, 1860, when 
it was combined with the Belleville Saengerbund. The Saenger- 
bund, as the name implies, was an organization for the study 
of vocal culture, and it also had a collection of books. In order 
to increase the usefulness of both book collections, it was 
decided to combine them under the name of "Belleville Saenger- 
bund and Librar)' Society." This consolidation took place in 
1860 and a charter was obtained in 1861. Dr. Schott became 
the first president of this new organization, with Bemhard 
Wick, Fred Reiss, and Jacob Weingaertner as its board of 

Mr. Gustav Kellermann was the new librarian, but was 
succeeded in 1863 by Mr. HenTy Raab, who served until 1883. 
His son, the late Dr. E. P. Raab, was the assistant librarian, 
whose dutv it was to ser\^e the children at this time. Another 
noteworthy feature of this period was that in 1873 a rule was 
made which admitted "ladies to full membership." The library 
functioned under this plan for 22 years; the Dook collection 
made rapid increases and had by this time a collection of 
8875 volumes. 

In 1883 the Saengerbund, agreeing to dissolve, offered its 
library to the citv of Belleville with the proviso that it must 
remain forever a free public librar)' and that the city assume its 
debt of $1,000. The city was favorably disposed to this and its 
council passed an ordinance to that effect. 

Two men ^vho were among the original founders of the 
libran% lived to see it transferred to the city. They were Gustav 
Koemer and Theo. J. Kraft. Mr. Koemer became the first 
president of the board of trustees and remained so until his 
death 1896. Mr. F. J. Staufenbiel was appointed librarian, and 
the librar)' was opened free to the public on March 10, 1884 


on the second floor of the present Engine House on South 
Jackson street. 

By 1872, the space here had become inadequate and the 
library board petitioned the city council to permit it to erect a 
building. This was granted under the able leadership of Mayor 
Herman G. Weber. The present City Hall on South Illinois 
street was built by the library board and opened on October 
9, 1893, with the city offices on the first floor and the library 
and reading room on the second. Here a steady advance was 
made, new methods of administration were introduced, and 
obsolete ones discarded. The noteworthy thing about this period 
of the librar\''s history was the splendid cooperation begun with 
the public schools. 

On December 10, 1903, Mr. Staufenbiel passed away after 
almost twenty years of devoted effort. He was succeeded as 
librarian by A. M. Wolleson, during whose administration the 
most important innovation was the opening of a separate child- 
ren's room in 1906, with an attendant in charge. Childrens 
rooms were just beginning to be established throughout the 
country in the late 1890's. 

In 1912 the library was again seized with growing pains. The 
second floor of the City Hall was wholly inadequate. Mr. Curt 
H. G. Heinfelden, himself the son of a former library trustee 
and grandson of former Herman G. Weber, under whose 
administration the City Hall was built, was now the president 
of the library board. He had opened correspondence with the 
Carnegie Corporation trying to interest it in donating a new 
building to the city. He met with many disappointments, and 
it seemed almost impossible for the city to comply with the 
necessary requirements set up by the Corporation. However, 
after many months of patient and persistent effort, Mr. Hein- 
felden received an affirmative answer. This required, in sub- 
stance, that if the city would provide a site for the library and 
pledge itself to appropriate annually not less than the sum of 


$4,500.00 for its maintainance, the Corporation would grant 
the city the sum of $45,000 for a new building. 

This was agreed to by the city council, and an ordinance 
was passed setting all future minimum annual appropriations 
at $4,500. The preliminary work of planning the building 
covered many months of work on the part of the library board. 
The construction was begun on March 1, 1915; the comer- 
stone was laid on March 22, 1915; and the building was com- 
pleted and dedicated on January 20, 1916. In February 1919, 
Mr. A. M. Wolleson resigned and Miss Bella Steuemagel was 
appointed to succeed him as librarian. 

The occuation of the new building in 1916 was no doubt 
the most important milestone in the history of the library, and 
since then it has enjoyed its greatest period of activity. Steady 
and normal progress has been made; as soon as new innovations 
in library service have developed they have been adopted. Every 
effort has been made to keep in step with the time. 

Among the more important innovations have been: entire 
recataloguing the book collection, inaugurating a new registra- 
tion and checkup system, moving the children's room to the 
ground floor, opening a junior adult department, establishing 
the West Side Branch Library, introducing classroom collections 
in the schools, preparing a mounted picture collection, giving 
free library service to the hospital, and segregating the books 
on art and music in an art and music room. 

That the library has been a good investment for the taxpayer 
is due to a composite effort, not only of the persons directly 
responsible for its administration, but also to the splendid 
response of the community itself, with its spirit of appreciation 
of what a power good books and library service can be in 
the community. 

In review of this period of a little more than a century, there 
may be singled out three individuals whose vision and devotion 
to the cause of library service in Belleville has been most 


praiseworthy. They were citizens who were wiUing to go the 
second mile, citizens who actually demonstrated a tine concep- 
tion of good citizenship. The first was that grand old man, 
Dr. Anton Schott, without whose wisdom, initiative, and in- 
telligent guidance this pioneer adventure would never have 
been conceived. Gustav Koerner, who through all the years, 
still remains perhaps our first citizen, and whose devotion of 
sixty years made the library a thing very near to his heart, was 
the second. The third was Curt Heinfelden, whose preseverance, 
persistence, and determination secured a building which might 
otherwise never have been achieved for many years. 


On November 3, 1875, three Franciscan Sisters from 
Muenster, Germany, arrived in Belleville and began a provision- 
al hospital. They occupied a small one-story, two-room brick 
building on West Garfield street, between Richland (now 
South Second) and Race (now South Third), on a plot of 
ground in the rear of the present St. Peter's Cathedral. For 
many years this hospital was also used for a base and as a home 
for the sisters. 

There was little room in this primitive building, but the 
sisters made up for this in their zeal to alleviate the suffering 
of the sick. These three nuns went out on duty calls in their 
self-sacrificing way and with great devotion, to administer to 
the best of their ability to the patients of all creeds, color, 
nationality background, or station in life. Their services were 
greatly appreciated and resulted eventually in the erection of 
the nucleus of the present hospital a three-story brick building 
on the very ground upon which the present modern hospital 
has been built. 

Prior to this time Belleville had no hospital except what was 
then called the County Poor House for indigent persons. In 
1880 a new building was constructed upon the hospital's present 


site on the land that had been donated for this purpose by 
Mr. Huber. On May 22, 1881 the sisters moved into their 
new hospital. 

Shordy after the opening of the hospital it was decided that 
it should be opened to patients of all creeds and all denomina- 
tions, and that all reputable physicians having a state licence 
should be allowed to attend patients there. 

Although the hospital was a haven for the sick, the institution 
was not patronized as it should have been. There was great 
reluctance on the part of all patients to enter it, pardy because 
the people did not yet realize the advantages of a hospital. 
Patients were usually treated at home and nursed by one of 
the family. Only the extremely desperate cases, which members 
of the family could not handle, were sent to the hospital. 
Naturally many deaths resulted and the general feeling was 
wide-spread that entering the hospital was a last resort and was 
equivalent to being carried out as a corpse. 

In 1892 two wings were added. Another wing was added in 
1903, and in 1918 the large west wing as constructed. The 
maternity department was built in 1926 on the third floor of 
the east end, and so constructed that it is entirely separated 
from the rest of the hospital. In the same year a new $200,000 
addition was made and all modem equipment was installed. 
Those in charge of the hospital today are the Sisters of Saint 
Francis, whose Mother House is in Springfield, Illinois. Dr. 
August F. Bechtold performed the first operation in the new 
operating room of St. Elizabeth's Hospital. 

The new $150,000 four-story addition to St. Elizabeth's 
Hospital was dedicated on July 29, 1928. The Rt. Rev. Bishop 
Henry Althoff opened the dedication. Rev. Thomas Bowdem, 
S.J., Dean of the School of Education of St. Louis University, 
was the principal speaker, while Monsignor M. J. Gruenewald 
acted as master of ceremonies. 

The personnel now consists of 35 nuns, more than 50 nurses, 


and 30 general maids. In addition there are the laboratory 
technicians, X-ray technicians, dieticians, orderlies, office girls, 
general maids, maintainance men, cooks, laundry help, and 
others. The first and second floors are for general medical and 
surgical cases, and the third floor is for the maternity cases. 
The hospital has four operating rooms, two for clean surgery, 
one for puss cases, and one for special surgery. 

The hospital, as it now stands, is a great credit to the work 
of the Sisters of St. Francis and to the people of Belleville in 
general— a dream that finally came true. 

In 1933 the old Harrison Machine Shop was remodelled and 
connected by a corridor with St. Elizabeth hospital and in 1934 
part of it became the dormitory' of the hospital maids and the 
rest is used as a garage. It will be torn down when the present 
hospital is remodeled. 


Industry and Labor 

Early Industries 1814-1850 


'elleville's ideal location in the heart of the great Middle 
West makes a vast market area accessible to it. Fertile soil and 
an abundance of raw materials have made this location desirable 
as a residential district as well as an industrial one. 

Of the early industries the mills were the most important 
for they were real labor savers. Before their day people pounded 
their corn for bread or grated it into a coarse meal 
which our forefathers contended produced bread that tasted 
just as good as if the flour had been made at the mill. 

The first mill in this vicinity was built by Elijah Chapman 
in 1810 and was located on the west bank of the Richland Creek, 
north of Main street. It was both a water mill and a tread mill. 
Actually it was this primitive contrivance that gave Belleville 
its real start as a village. Its first power was a brace of oxen 
walking on an endless journey on a tread mill. In the spring 
and fall, when the stream was high, water power was used to 
grind the corn into meal and the wheat into flour. It had been 
erected on a most logical location, however, for all the mills, 
distilleries, and soap factories, depending on water power, were 
located on that creek. 

Another mill was built in 1815 by Moses Quick just south 
of the St. Clair County Fairgrounds. It was later sold to 


Major Washington West, and remained in operation until it 
was destroyed by high water. 

In 1882, Edmund Wilkinson and John Ringgold built a large 
ox mill on the site of the present R. A. Halbert residence on 
South High street. This was sold to Jacob Whiteside, who later 
sold it to Samuel Ogle. In 1826 it was bought by Thomas 
Harrison and Son who soon thereafter used steam as the motive 
power. This steam mill was the first of its kind in the state. 

The Harrisons, possessing much business ability, made a 
great success of the mill, which in turn proved to be a great 
benefit to the entire community, besides providing its owners 
with an immense fortune. In 1836 it was moved to the north 
side of Richland Creek and West Main street. The mill burned 
to the ground in 1884, the fire spreading so rapidly that nothing 
was saved but a few barrels of wheat. That which had once 
been the pride of the village, in a few moments was nothing 
but a mass of ruins, entailing a loss of $80,000. The mill was 
rebuilt, but during that time the hundred unemployed millers 
created a serious relief problem for the community. In 1889 
it was incorporated as the Harrison-Switzer Mills and in 
1917 it became the J. F. Imbs Milling Company. 

That old ox mill and its successors constituted the most im- 
portant of the early Belleville industries. For more than 150 
years it has been located at West Main street and Richland 
Creek. While not all of the early mills were as famous as the 
present Imbs Mill, all of them helped to make the city the focal 
point of attraction to farmers for miles around. 

Hinckley's Mill, located on the southeast comer of West 
Lincoln and South First streets was built by Richard Rapier 
in 1832, and disposed of by him in 1837. In 1847 Russell 
Hinckley bought it and operated it continually thereafter until 

The Crown Mill stood on the northeast comer of East Main 
and Walnut streets, occupying the site of a former small steam 


mill, which was operated by a Mr. Meister. One of the best 
equipped in the state, it was owned by J. F. Imbs, Charles 
N. Hahn, and Fred Engelke. In the early 1880's its capacity 
was 600 barrels of flour per day, and at that time it employed 
more than fifty men. This company was the first in Belleville 
to take advantage of the telephone. 

Another of the very early industries in our community was 
the distiller)' built in 1880 by the owner of the leading hotel, 
an ex-justice of the peace, and ex-jailer, named Tannehill. His 
farm, mill, and distillery, were mere auxiliaries to his hotel, 
in that they supplied most of the things it needed. His distillery, 
one of the largest in Southern Illinois, helped to make his 
hotel the general headquarters of an indiscriminate admixture 
of judges, lawyers, jurors, witnesses, politicians, scalawags, and 
others. Here the entire output of his distillery was consumed 
and often on public occasions three or four barrels of whiskey 
were emptied in a single day. It was generally used in its virgin 
purity— made today and consumed tomorrow— by his wholesale 
or retail thirstv customers. A few apples, roasted to a rich 
brown, were put in to the barrel and these gave it a rich brown 
color. Tannehill's distiller)' remained in operation until 1830, 
when it burned to the ground. 

Tannehill created a bit of a sensation when he undertook to 
build a windmill for grinding the grain on his farm. He got 
the mill to run, but was unable to control its speed for want 
of a regulator, which he did not know how to build. For the 
want of this, the entire mill proved a failure. 

A storm caused the sails to revolve with such velocity that the 
runner was thrown some seventy feet and became imbedded 
in the soil. The momentum of the shaft threw it out of place 
and it continued to run until it had destroyed all the machinery 
in the mill. Thus came to an end the first wind-powered mill 
in this vicinity. Tannehill then resolved to try water power 
and was more successful with it. 


Before 1828, the reaping hook and the sickle were the only 
means of har\'esting wheat. It was then that the cradle came 
into use. Until then, twenty acres of wheat was considered a 
large crop for any farmer, for it would take one man twenty 
days to cut, bind, and shock it, but with the cradle he could 
do the work in half that time. 

Threshing the wheat was still the same process it had been 
in ancient days. The old flail was colorful but very difficult, 
for it was little more than a stick, and with it the grain was 
beaten from the stalks. The only improvement on this was 
the threshing of grain by the trampling of oxen and horses. 
The bundles were laid two deep on a circular floor enclosed 
in a fence. The horses or oxen were then brought in and the 
ringmaster would drive them round and round until the grain 
was all threshed out. The straw was then pitched out and 
the grain heaped in the center. Later came the horse power 
thresher, which was nothing more than a cylinder built in a 
strong frame into which the wheat was put. The rear of this 
was open so that the men could rake out the straw from the 

In the late nineteenth century the manufacture of cigars 
was a leading industr>^ in Belleville. In 1884 the city boasted 
of eighteen cigar shops in which 125 hands were employed. 
Statistics showed that in 1883 some 2,770,505 cigars were 
manufactured locally all of which found a ready market. Owners 
of these shops were: John Ackermann, John Bux, Albert Bert- 
schinger, August Fernau, Daniel Fischer, Charles Goelitz, 
Martin Henkemeyer, the Kaemper brothers, Charles Knefel- 
kamp, Henry Krisher, Jacob Magin, Henry Meyer, Henry 
Nagel, Jacob Scheu, Jr., Henry Viehmann, Nic Wilhelm, John 
Winkler, and H. R. Willman. 

The first tobacco and cigar shop in the city was opened by 
Aaron Zeiler in 1840 in the first block of West Main street. 
He manufactured his own brand of cigars but also kept on hand 


an assortment of Melle, Principe, Half-Spanish, and Regalia 
"Segars," all of which were the leading brands of the day. 

Later Martin Henkemeyer opened a cigar store one door 
east of the Public Square on the north side of East Main 
street. Here he manufactured his famous Henkemeyer cigar 
which because of its fine quality, soon became known as a 
very fine smoke. It is still being made by the Mohr brothers, 
who have maintained its quality and reputation. 

As the decade of the 1840's drew to a close, twelve different 
industries had already located in Belleville. They were turning 
out some of the finest furniture, best carriages, and strongest 
wagons, all of which could be purchased at a low price. 

The making of whiskey, too, flourished at that time, for a 
rather extensive steam distillery was producing, on the average, 
sixteen barrels of whiskey each day. Another one was nearing 
completion, and it was estimated it would produce twenty 
barrels a day. A brewery had been built and was supplying 
the public with eleven different kinds of beer, from the famous 
London stout down to mere colored water. 

In the past as now, breweries played a conspicuous part in 
Belleville's industrial history, and it was here that the first 
brewer)' in Illinois was established, when Jacob Fleischbein 
opened one in 1832. It was located on the south west corner of 
the Square where the Highway building now stands. 

In 1837 Abram Anderson established one where now the 
jail is located on West Washington street. In the years that 
followed others were opened, and by 1860 there were seven 
in operation. Besides the aforementioned ones, excluding the 
Fleischbein Brewery, which had ceased to exist, these were: 
Simon Eimer's Washington Brewery (west side of South 
Second street between Harrison and Lincoln streets); Fidel 
Stoelzle's Brewery (northeast corner of West Main and North 
Third streets); The Heberer Brothers' City Park Brewery 
(northeast comer of North Second and West A streets); John 


Klug's Illinois Brewery (southwest corner of North Second and 
West A streets); Priester and Villinger's Southern Brewery 
(in the fourth block on South Charles street); and Philip Neu 
and Peter Gintz's Brewery (located in West Belleville). In 
those days the government levied a tax of fifty dollars on all 
first grade breweries and a twenty-five dollars tax on all second 
grade ones. Besides this it collected a dollar for every barrel of 
beer sold. 

Of all of these breweries Simon Eimer's, established in 
1846-47, was the largest. It occupied a half-block, and had 
beer cellars two stories deep. Reputed to be the largest brew^ery 
west of the Alleghany mountains, it's output w^as 8,000 barrels 
per year, much of which was sold as far away as New Orleans. 

Fidel Stoelzle started his brewery in 1851 as a maltster, but 
in 1853 he added the necessary buildings and machinery and 
began the manufacture of beer. His brewery occupied about 
a half-block of ground, and the water for its use was pumped 
by a twelve-horse power engine from a clear spring situated 
about two blocks away. In the early 1880's its capacity was 
about 15,000 barrels per annum. 

What is now the Star Brewerey was organized by Messrs. 
Neuhoff and Bressler. It was called the Nebraska Brewery, a 
name given it by someone by reason of the firm's initials, N. B. 
When Mr. Bressler sold his interest to a Mr. Loeser the firm 
became knowm as Neuhoff and Loese. But Neuhoff soon retired, 
and the next proprietors were Loeser and Fuchs. The latter 
sold his interest to Hubert Hartmann, and after a time Loeser 
passed away, and his interests were purchased by Bernhardt 
Hartmann. The brewery was then known as the Hartmann 
Brothers Brewery and continued as such until September 1882, 
when Bernhardt bought out his brother's interest. Its symbol 
was the star that was used on its bottles. Hence the brewery 
became the Star Brewery and has remained such even until 


Today's Western Brewery is the outgrowth of one organized 
in 1851 by Philip Neu and Peter Gintz, who conducted the 
business as partners until the death of the latter on August 1 1 , 
1873. The present brewery was organized when the interests 
were taken over by John Kloess, William Brandenburger, 
Valentine Steg, and Adam Gintz with a paid up capital stock 
of $50,000 dollars. One by one these disposed of their stock 
until February, 1881, Adam Gintz acquired it all, paying 
$32,500 dollars for the same. Under him the brewery was gready 
improved. He conducted it until August 1898, when he sold 
the stock for $118,000 to a Chicago syndicate, which, in turn, 
disposed of it in April, 1912, to Henry L. Griesedieck, who has 
conducted the brewery ever since. 


In 1850, as now, many "shoe string" starts were still possible 
in business. Today's and yesterday's foundry heads were not 
financiers, but nearly all of them were sand and clay shovelers 
with enough initiative and ability, in a favorable economic era, 
to rise to greater heights. Some of the early foundries were so 
small that today they could be tucked away in a corner of one 
of their present storage warehouses. Many of them did not 
make stoves but various parts for farm implements. When the 
demand for foundry work increased, such products as mining 
machines, sinks, and safes were manufactured on a jobbing 

Belleville's outstanding industry has undoubtly been the stove 
and iron business. In it was invested an enormous capital and 
then a year's production was gigantic. It brought more people 
and more wealth to the Belleville community than any other 

The first foundry to manufacture stoves was the old Pump 
and Skein, built in 1873. By 1884 it had grown so large that 
it was able to manufacture 20,000 gasoline stoves for a single 


St. Louis firm. The first large and exclusive stove foundry was 
the Belleville Stove and Range Company, which was organized 
in 1885 and was an outgrowth of the Pump and Skein Com- 
pany. By 1890 it was manufacturing some 27,500 stoves a year. 

Other new foundries now began to spring up in various parts 
of the city, and it was commonly belived there was a great 
future in this industry. Prior to 1911 some fifty foundries had 
begun here, but many of them either merged, sold out, or went 
out of business. There were large jobbing foundries that made 
many other kinds of stoves besides the cannonball type. Some 
of the early foundries were: Rogers', 1878; Eagle, 1883; Baker's 
Stove Works, 1882; Enterprise, 1896; St. Clair, 1890; Excelsior, 
1891; Quality, 1903; Oakland, 1905; Orbon, 1902; Roesch, 
1907; and Never Break, 1910. In addition to these there are 
now the Empire, Harmony, Egyptian, Supreme, and Premier. 

A t\'pical example of the way some of our foundries have 
changed names, is that of the Richland Foundry, which was 
organized in 1902. In 1910 it was known as the Never Break, 
and today operates as the Karr Foundries. 

Philip M. Gundlach has perhaps done more to lighten the 
task of the tillers of the soil than any other man in this com- 
munity. His grain drills, the most perfect on the market at the 
time, were universally used. 

Philip Gundlach was born in Germany on July 13, 1831, 
and eleven years later, in 1842, his parents brought him to 
the United States. The family landed in New York from where 
they proceeded to Pittsburgh, remaining there for two months, 
and then going to Cincinnati. Shordy thereafter on October 12, 
1842, they arrived in St. Louis and from there moved to Belle- 
ville. Here his father bought a farm near the present city hall 
but later allowed the payments to lapse when he found a farm 
much more to his liking one mile east of Belleville. Here he 
made his permanent home. 

His son, Philip, remained with his parents until he was 


twenty-four years old. When he married he moved back to 
Belleville, where he specialized in selling cider made from the 
apples on his father's farm. 

He was of a creative turn of mind, and in his earlier years 
invented a binder and a thresher, which were manufactured 
by Cox and Roberts, the forerunners of the Harrison Machine 
Works. His research did not cease with the threshing machine, 
for he next devoted his efforts to grain drills. He soon invented 
one and in 1858 began the manufacture of them in a shop in 
West Belleville. In 1863 he changed his location to Main and 
First streets. During the Civil War, when the other firms were 
being ruined, he continued to prosper, his grain drills contribu- 
ting much towards the winning of the war. 

By 1880 his business had increased to such an extent that 
larger quarters were necessary, so he built a shop north of 
town. His business continued to flourish, and with Mr. Severin 
Poirot as his selling agent, his sales jumped from 250 machines 
in 1875 to 1500 in 1877. Most of these machines were sold 
in Kansas, which was then developing into the wheat center of 

The Gundlach grain drill ranks with the threshing machine 
and the McCormick Reaper as an important factor in the rapid 
agriculural development of the Middle West. Here was a vast 
area of rich agricultural lands, able to produce bountiful crops 
if only they could be harvested. With too few farm hands to 
do the work on the thousands and thousands of acres of rich 
farm land, the cultivating of a farm by one man became a 
problem. These three inventions were the answer and the old 
fashioned methods of cultivation and harvesting were now dis- 

In 1847 two strangers, the Messrs. Cox and Roberts, arrived 
in Belleville, and renting a small frame building near the Harri- 
son Mill, started the building of threshers. These machines 
could thresh and clean 100 to 150 bushels of grain per day. 


They continued in operation until 1855 when Frank Middle- 
coff and Theophilus Harrison bought out the concern. In 1857 
William C. Buchanan purchased an interest, and in 1860 he 
and Harrison bought the entire interest and it then became 
known as Harrison and Company. But in 1874, Hugh Harrison 
and Cyrus Thompson joined the firm, and its name was changed 
to the Harrison Machine Works under which name it was 
incorporated in 1878 under the state laws. 

The Harrison Machine Works was looked upon as the most 
important manufacturing establishment, not only in Belleville, 
but in Southern Illinois. The reputation of its threshers and 
engines reached all over the country and even into Mexico. 
It v.'as located on grounds now owned by St. Elizabeth's Hos- 
pital just in the rear of that institution. The buildings and yard 
room covered six acres and in the 80's it employed an average 
of 200 men. Its capacity of production at the time amounted 
to six engines and eighteen threshers per week. Although it is 
still in existence at 1510 East Main street, it is, however, but 
a small replica of its former self. 

There was a time in the past when clothing was spun by 
women in the American home. There was a later time when 
clothing was spun in large quantities in woolen factories. Such 
a one was built by Louis Krimmel in 1848 on the banks of the 
Richland Creek. Farmers brought their year's crop of wool to 
the mill where it was carded, spun into yarn, and woven 
into cloth. Sheep then brought good prices to the farmer. Mr. 
Krimmel lost his life while trying to cross the swollen Richland 
Creek on horse back, but his factory continued in operation for 
some years after his death, and continued to prosper because a 
frontiersman, Jasper Scott, operated a carding machine here, 
which helped prepare the wool for the factory. 

In 1885 Geiss and Brosius started to manufacture cider mills 
and double movement grain drills. They sold out to Esler and 
Ropiquet, who in 1875 organized the Esler and Roupiquet 


Manufacturing Company, making grain drills, hay racks, cider 
and wine mills, presses, and circular wood saws. The factory 
was located at Main street and Mascoutah avenue. 

In 1886 Brosius, Geiss, and Company established the first 
oil mill that ever existed in Belleville. Its products consisted of 
castor, linseed, hickory nut, and pecan oils. This was the only 
place in the United States where pecan oil was manufactured 
at that time, and it was considered among the finest oils for 
table use, being considered much superior to olive oil. 

Prior to 1882, electricity was used only for street lighting, 
but that year the Romeiser store installed it for lighting purposes, 
being the first establishment in Belleville to do so. Power for 
the same was obtained from the Electric Light and Steam Supply 
Company, which represented an investment of $50,000 in 
capital stock. Thomas Knobeloch was its president and H. 
Burchardt its secretary and treasurer. Its office was located at 
the corner of Mascoutah and East Main streets; its boiler house 
and electric light machines were located in a large brick build- 
ing which was situated near the palatial residence of Jacob 
Brosius, later for many years the home of the widow of the late 
Judge Frank Perrin, and now owned by the Knight of Colum- 

The steam generated by the plant, which was organized in 
1879, was used primarily for running the machinery of the 
Brosius Coal Mine, which adjoined the works, and for the 
engine of the Brosius, Geiss, Oil Works. In addition, it supplied 
heat to a few customers in the vicinity. It proved such a success 
that during the season of 1880-1881, there were about fifty 
customers being supplied with heat. About 15,000 feet of pipe 
were used in its distribution, these being laid in insulated boxes 
so as to prevent any possibility of freezing even in the severest 

Belleville was the first city in Illinois to introduce this ar- 
rangement of centralized heating, and many churches, halls, 


and residences were heated with it. Because of its cheap manu- 
facture, for its coal was obtained right at its door, and with 
abundant supply of water from the Brosius Lake on the 
premises, it seemed that a new era was dawning. However, with 
the perfecting of furnaces for private use, and with unforeseen 
difficulties presenting themselves, its usefulness passed after 
a few years, and with it the Electric Light and Steam Supply 

Back in the 1880's, Belleville began to experience its first 
big industrial booms, for with the coming of the nail mills, many 
new people came to town. They made good wages and spent 
them, bringing prosperity to the community. 

The Belleville Nail Company was located on a five-acre 
tract in the southwestern part of the city, just across the 
present Illinois Central Railroad tracks, then known as the Cairo 
Short Line. It was often referred to as the Waugh Mills for its 
officers were all members of the Waugh family. Col. James 
Waugh was its president, W. W. Waugh, vice-president, R. 
F. Waugh, treasurer, and J. C. Waugh, Jr., secretary. J. J. 
Carey was superintendent of the plant. Its capital stock was 
$100,000. In the manufacture of nails, about 52 tons of iron 
were used daily, amounting to over 700 kegs per day. It gave 
employment to some 360 men and boys, and its payroll totalled 
$16,000 per month. Comfortable homes were erected in the 
immediate vicinity by Col. Waugh, for employees, and they 
were rented for a nominal sum. Prior to moving to Belleville 
the company was known as the Bogy Nail Co. of St. Louis, 
but when Col. Waugh had purchased it in 1869 he moved 
it here. 

The Western Nail Mills, with a paid up capital stock of 
$50,000 was organized in March, 1882. Its erection was begun 
on April 15 of that year, and the plant was in operation the 
following September 4. It was equipped with 42 nail-making 
machines, whose capacity was 2200 kegs per week. After a year's 


operation, the entire plant was destroyed by fire. No time was 
lost in its rebuilding, for on June 25, 1883, the new factory, 
enlarged and with its capacity gready increased, was once more 
in operation. W. H. Powell was its first president and manager, 
Conrad Reinecke was vice-president and treasurer, H. L. 
Powell, secretary, and E. B. Powell, superintendent. Its payroll 
amounted to $20,000 per month. Nails ranging from eight 
inch spikes to small three-quarter inch barrel nails were made. 
It was located in the northeastern part of the city, and the 
L. and N. Railroad ran along its warehouse, affording every 
facility for loading and unloading. 

A third, known as the Crescent Nail Mill, was estaUished 
here by the Belleville Steel and Iron Nail Works in 1865 at 
a cost of $60,000. It was located just outside the northern city 
limits in Swansea. In 1896 it reverted to B. Hartmann, J. M. 
Hay and Henry Reis, and in 1911 its name was changed to 
The Hartmann, Hay, Reis Nail Mill. It remained in operation 
until January, 1917, when it dissolved. Its spacious building 
was used as a barracks in July, 1917, for 600 Scott Field 
construction workers. 

John A. Day established extensive brickyards on Freeburg 
Avenue, adjoining Walnut Hill Cemetery. These were later 
known as the Abend Brickyards and were among the largest 
in the city. 

Others who operated brickyards in Belleville in the past 
were Gotdieb Zehnert, John Wittauer, Nic Holdener, Philip 
A. Faulstich, and George Rodemeier. 

In about 1880 Anthony Ittner found it necessary to find 
a new location for his St. Louis Brickyard because of the 
increased value of land and the encroachment of residential 
areas. In casting about for a new site where raw material and 
fuel were plentiful, he finally decided on one north of the 
city just outside of its Hmits on the L. and N. Railroad. Here, 
in 1899, he bought eighty acres of land and erected a modern 


dry pressed brick plant capable of making fifty thousand bricks 
a day. 

The plant erected by Ittner was a model of nineteenth cen- 
tury efficiency. In 1894 a second plant for the manufacturing 
of common building brick was erected on the same property 
and the last of his St Louis plant was abolished. Here the 
supply of raw material, namely red brick clay, Illinois joint 
clay, and shale clay was practically inexhaustible. Here he 
produced fifteen million face and common bricks, and twenty 
million hollow tile and hollow bricks per year. 

In the operation of the plants 150 men were employed 
throughout the year, and the pay roll average $75,000 annually. 
Twenty thousand tons of coal were used yearly and twenty-five 
hundred cars of bricks were shipped from Belleville every year. 
This good business continued until the early part of the 
twentieth century when improved machinery played such a part 
that Ittner and his men could not longer compete, and today 
the firm remains a fair memory' in the minds of the older 

The Belleville Glass Company, established in 1882, was 
bought by Adolphus Busch, president of the Anhueser-Busch 
Company, in St. Louis, in 1886. He modernized the plant in 
every respect, employed 258 men regularly, and by 1900 had 
more than a $7,000 weekly pay roll and a plant output of more 
than 200 gross glass botdes per day. They manufactured both 
green and amber colored blass bottles for beer, mineral water, 
soda water, wine, and bitters. It was the largest establishment of 
its kind south of Springfield. In 1920 it was absorbed by the 
Glass Trust of Newark, Ohio. 

One of the oldest grain companies is that owned by the 
Sehlingers, dealers in grain, hay, flour, and meal feed, with of- 
fices and warehouses until recently at 616 East Grant street. 
Its founder, Anton Sehlinger, was a man who possessed ini- 
tiative, enthusiasm, and rare business ability. He was born in 


Germany and in 1864 settled on a farm three miles east of 
Belleville. In that year he helped to organize the Emerald Isle 
Mill, in Mascoutah, and in 1880 he became half owner of it, 
changing its name to Sehlinger and Schubkegel. Coming to 
Belleville in 1890, he founded the Sehlinger Grain Company 
which was discontinued in 1929. Today its successor the 
Sehlinger Produce Company is operated by Albert Sehlinger. 

The Richland Mill, established in 1896, one of Belleville's 
outstanding business establishments, ranked very high in the 
production of a high grade flour. It was located on North 
Second street, and Joseph Dietz was its first president. In 1904, 
it was bought by John and George Kloess. In 1913, five new 
concrete elevators with a total capacity of 50,000 bushels of 
wheat were added, to make possible the holding of the grain 
when the price was low and selling it when high, thereby in- 
creasing the company's profit. 

The mill produced flour of both hard and soft wheat. The 
latter was obtained from local farmers while the hard wheat 
was shipped in from the Northwest. The last managers of the 
mill were the two brothers, Arthur and Howard Kloess, who 
ceased to operate it in 1940. 

The Herzler and Henniger Machine Works, which was 
organized in 1903, was inspired by a demand for mining 
machinery in the local coal industry. Admirably located at 
220 Centerville avenue and the Illinois Central Railroad, it 
could easily ship its mining machinery, especially hoisting 
machines, mine cars, screens and loading machinery. 
Its welfare was definitely tied up with Southern Illinois coal, 
and since the day for smokeless fuel has arrived, its boom 
davs were definitely over. It, too, has passed on, having been 
bought by the Gundlach Machine Works, who occupy the 
building today. 



Belleville is fortunate in being located near one of the most 
important commercial centers of the great West, affording it 
the advantages of accessible markets for the various products 
of its farms, gardens, and factories. 

With the establishment of factories, new life was installed 
in the city, which stimulated earnings and promoted a rising 
standard of living. Where industry flourishes there is no deca- 
dence, no poverty, or spiritual death. Many cities, once thriving 
communities, are now decaying because their industries have 
moved out of the reach of its inhabitants. 

The stor)' of brick making in Belleville, one of its oldest 
industries, is a most fascinating one. Bricks were first made by 
hand, then by horsepower, and still later by steam power. 
Nearly all of the early homes were constructed of Belleville 
made brick. Generally brick was in such demand for home 
construction that by 1870 six brickyards were located here. 
One of the oldest, and operating until recently, is the Kloess 
Brick Company located at 200 North Twenty-first street, es- 
tablished in 1865. At one time it produced three to four 
million bricks a year. 

Stoves came into use in Belleville in 1837, and soon the 
demand for them far exceeded the supply. In time local men, 
seeing a potential market, opened up small foundries for their 
manufacture. The result was that this work soon dominated 
Belleville's industrial life. At one time there were 19 foundries 
located here with a capital investment of $2,545,000, and 
employing 1,739 skilled workers with an annual income of 
$1,496,330. Coal, gas, and electric ranges; oil and water heaters; 
coal, gas, oil and electric furnaces were being manufactured 
and being sent to the four corners of the world. 

The Eagle Foundry, one of the largest and most influential, 
contributed in no small measure to make Belleville an industrial 
center. It is located at Fourteenth street and the Illinois Central 


tracks, and is modem in equipment. Founded by G. D. Klemme 
and William Schlott in 1883 it was moved to its present location 
at Fourteenth street and the Illinois Central tracks in 1893. 
The plant became famous for its "Star" cannon and "St. Louis" 
box and "O.K." stoves. It was originally established to meet the 
demand for stove casting, but in 1908 it added an assembly 
plant, making possible the production of a complete stove. This 
company uses coke from St. Louis; steel from Granite City, 
Illinois, and Middletown, Ohio; and sand from Evansville, 

The plant soon passed into complete control of Gotdieb 
Klemme who, with his sons, continued to manage it. Maurice 
G. Klemme became the vice-president and treasurer and has 
proven to be a man of great business ability. Another son, Alvin 
H., was made the secretary of the foundry, W. W. Klemme, 
assistant secretary and treasurer, (while another son, Roland, 
is today an outstanding brain surgeon and nerve specialist in 
St. Louis.) In 1950 they sold out to an eastern concern. 

The Belleville Stove Works and the Snyder-Baker Foundry 
were organized in 1885, but the Belleville Stove Works had 
been previously established as the Belleville Pump and Skein 
Company. Most of the stove factories organized after 1885 
were offshoots from the early foundries or from other factories 
which produced iron products. 

The Oakland Foundry was organized in 1896 by Henry 
Ehret and was the outgrowth of the Standard Foundry, which 
Ehret and William Althoff purchased in 1 890, when they con- 
ducted a plant under the name af Ehret and Althoff until 1 892, 
when Althoff disposed of his stock to Adam Ehret. The firm 
then took the name of The Ehret Brothers. However, in 1894 
it was incorporated under the name of the Enterprise Foundry. 
Two years later the Ehrets organized the Oakland Foundry 
which is now located on East "A" street at Florida Avenue. 
The Oakland Foundry represents an investment of $440,000, 


employs about 325 men and ships products to practically every 
state in the union. 

In May, 1930, the company suffered a $350,000 loss as a 
result of a destructive fire. Invitations came in from many 
cities asking the Ehrets to consider them as new sites, and many 
offered free plants, free taxes, free power, and other facilities 
over a period of from five to ten years. The Ehrets, however, 
were so attached to their native city that they disregarded them 
all and rebuilt in their home town. 

The Excelsior Foundry was established in the southwestern 
part of town in 1885 by Mr. E. P. Rogers and George B. M. 
Rogers, and since 1893 has been located at 1200 East "B" 
street. This plant has steadily increased its volume of business 
and at present employs 91 men. 

The Enterprise Foundry located on "B" street and the L. and 
N. tracks was established in 1896 and it was one of the most 
important concerns of the city. 

The Orbon Stove Company, originally organized as a nail 
mill in 1882, was reorganized in 1902 to manufacture stoves. 
It employs 295 people and has an average weekly pay roll of 
$7,000, and its president today is S. D. Vale. Since 1903 it 
has been located on the L. and N. tracks and Sycamore streets. 

The Premier Stove Company was organized by Mr. M. C. 
Klemme and Arthur C. Krebs in 1912, and today is located at 
100 South Sixteenth street. 

The Karr Range Company, located at 300 South Seventh 
street, was organized in 1916 to manufacture and assemble 
stove castings, but today specializes only in assembling and 

The Egyptian Foundry at Scheel and Hecker streets makes 
castings but does no assembling. The Lincoln manufactured 
and assembled stoves, but is now out of business. In 1920, 
the Supreme began manufacturing on a small scale, 


but has grown rapidly since then. The Original Enamel 
Range Company is now a subsidiary plant of the Supreme 
Foundry. Through coordination of the two factories a complete 
stove is produced. 

The Roesch Enameling and Manufacturing Co. was organized 
in 1916, and was equipped in 1938 with modern automatic en- 
ameling ovens, so that it is one of the best equipped enameling 
plants in the city, after pioneering in the enameling process. All 
of its enamel is produced by the company's exclusive formula 
whose results have not yet been duplicated. 

The Peerless Enamel Products Company was organized in 
1938 to meet the increased demand for enameled ranges, and 
does only enameling work. 

The Imbs Milling Company, a combination of the early Harri- 
son Mill, no longer mills for the local market nor does it buy 
local wheat because the supply is too limited. Instead all of 
its wheat is bought from the West and its flour is sold to large 
chain stores. It employs about 70 men on three 8 hour shifts 
daily. Its capacity is 2000 barrels a day, and its power is steam 
generated by using local coal. The water is taken from two 
wells, each 420 feet deep, safe for drinking purposes as well 
as for boilers. 

The Century Brass Works, Inc. had its beginning in our 
city on July 12, 1917 and has always been located at 1100 
North Illinois street. Its president today is R. S. Wangelin and 
Frederick E. Lutz is its manager. Its products are sold through- 
out the nation. 

The Southern Boiler Works was organized in 1898 to build 
smoke stacks and repair all types of boilers. Although small, it 
renders a most valuable service. 

After securing a patent for the manufacture of oil and gas- 
burning metallurgical furnaces, Mr. Arthur Jones organized 
and established a plant in 1917, known as the U. S. Smelting 
Furnace Company. These furnaces are of a special metallurgical 


construction for the purpose of smelting non-ferrous metals such 
as brass, copper, and aluminum; and smelting and refining 
secondary metals. 

The well-known contracting company known as Bauer Broth- 
ers was organized by Dominic Bauer who was born in Germany 
April 1, 1863. He arrived in Belleville in 1883 with only 75 
cents in his pockets. His first job was loading coal at $1.50 
for a ten hour day, and he had to walk five miles to and from 
work. After working at this for six months, he secured em- 
ployment as an apprentice carpenter for Val Reis and Sons 
at $4.00 a week. In 1893, he established his own business with 
Joseph Hilpert as partner. In 1903, Mr. Hilpert sold out to 
Mr. Bauer's brother, Casper, and from then on the firm was 
known as Bauer Brothers. 

At first it built only homes but later entered the heavy 
contruction field and to date have constructed buildings valued 
at millions of dollars. Included in this are some of the largest 
public and private buildings in this area such as: Pleasantview 
Sanitorium, Scott Field hangar. County Highway Building, 
Oakland Foundry, additions at the Griesedieck Western Brew- 
ery, boys' gymnasium at Belleville Township High School, 
Union School, Junior High School, Commercial Building, Elks 
Home, addition to Court House, St. Peter's Cathedral, Belleville 
Shoe Company, and International Shoe Company. 

The Minor Construction Company was organized by Mr. 
Joseph Minor, who was born here on July 1, 1879, attended the 
parochial schools, and upon finishing his education became a 
contractor. He worked at all the different phases of this trade, 
thereby becoming an expert. He erected many homes and bus- 
iness establishments in this city. 

Hoeffken Brothers, the company that is engaged in general 
road and bridge \^'ork and construction work, was organized 
in 1892. Many of the finest modern highways in this vicinity 
has been built by it. 


Liese Lumber Company was organized by Mr. Julius Liese 
in 1865. The main yard is today located at 317 East Main 
street, while a large branch yard is maintained at Twenty-first 
street and the Old St. Louis Road. It is managed today by 
Oscar Lippert and his two sons, Howard and Floyd, and employs 
45 men. 

Beer, wine, and whiskey have been used in this area since 
an early day. In 1862 the vineyards in and around Belleville 
totaled fifty acres or more and they produced a yield of 450 
gallons of wine per acre. 

The most commonly used drink of the early pioneer, besides 
wines from wild grapes, was whiskey. In 1862, Belleville had 
eight distilleries in operation at one time. The two largest of 
these manufactured a brand of wiskey called "Chained Light- 
ening." So potent was it, people contended, that it contained 
64 fights to the barrel. 

Two of the only four stencil machine factories in the world 
are located in Belleville. The others are in St. Louis. The Ideal 
Stencil Machine Company, perhaps the best equipped, receives 
its castings from the Excelsior Foundry located in the same block. 
Its annual production is about $150,000, and it employs 24 

The Marsh Stencil Company, located at 707 East "B" street, 
the last of the four to be organized, was established in 1920. 
The volume of its business is about the same as that of the Ideal 

The A. R. Stanley Nail Company, the first of its kind to 
locate here was established in 1880. A continuation of the early 
nail mill, it was located in the west end of the city on the 
east bank of Richland Creek, and was powered by two large 
steam engines. The mill used 35 tons of iron daily and 
produced 600 kegs of nails. An artificial lake furnished the 
water supply and local coal was used to generate the steam. 
The present plant, located at 1200 East "B" street, and L. and 


N. tracks, produces all types of nails, up to 8 penny, various 
types of metal staples, and hoop fasteners for both wood and 
paper containers. The capital invested is $50,000. It employs 
three men and has a weekly payroll of about $200.00. Its 
manager today is Margaret Stanley. 

The Belleville Pattern and Match Plate Company, located 
at 18 South Twelfth street, was organized in 1919 to supply 
the many patterns needed for the manufacturing of castings 
in the iron and steel factories in Belleville and nearby cities. 

The Streck Brothers Packing Plant, located at 401 West 
Washington street, was founded in 1915 by three brothers, 
Clarence, Ernest, and Joseph with a capital of $300,000. At 
first they rented a small building where they opened a meat 
market which became so prosperous that in 1918 they opened 
a second one, and in 1922 they bought a small plant in which 
to do their own kiling. Their success inspired them to enter 
the packing business. 

Besides having a building for meat cutting, smoking, curing, 
and cooling, and one for slaughtering purposes, they have a 
second building for the manufacture of meat products, rendering 
of lard, and an additional curing cellar. A garage, engine room, 
office, and a new killing floor have been added. The plant 
today is large, strictly sanitary, and has ideal working conditions 
for its employees. In 1931 a rendering plant outside of the 
cit}^ to manufacture by-products was erected. In 1934 the Strecks 
sold their retail meat markets and are now engaged in the 
packing business only. 

The original Henkemeyer cigar factory was taken over by 
Peter Mohr, who in 1902 moved his place of business to 24 
Public Square. Mohr died in 1919 and his two sons, Robert 
and Edward, carried on. In 1937 they moved the shop to 707 
North Illinois street, and Ed Mohr became the sole owner. 
Today the famous Mohr and Henkemeyer cigars are sold 

In 1906 more cigars were manufactured here than in any 


Other city in the Belleville-Cairo revenue district. 

On April 20, 1900, the Belleville Shoe Factory was organized. 
Its capital stock was $10,000, and the directors were W. L. 
Desnoyers, Ed. H. Wangelin, George W. Detharding, H. J. 
Fink, Adam Jung, I. H. Wangelin, and Phillip Knapp. On 
October 21, 1904, it was incorporated by C. H. Leunig, Adolph 
Knobeloch, and William Weidmann. 

The Charles Meyer Pants Company was established in 
1905 at South First and Harrison streets. The company now 
employs 50 men and 280 women with an average weekly pay 
roll of $12,000. The first building in its present plant was erect- 
ed in 1923, and an addition was made in 1926 which doubled 
its capacity. In 1935 another three story addition was built, 
which pratically tripled the original capacity. 

The Belleville Bill Posting Company, now the J. Knox 
Montgomery Advertising company was founded in 1906, with 
its headquarters at 3400 West Main street. 

The G. S. Suppiger Canning Company, canning tomatoes 
and other vegetable products, was established in 1927 and is 
a branch of the Collinsville Tomato Canning Company. Nearby 
farmers produce most of the vegetables for the factory, which, 
during the rush season, employs about two hundred workers. 
It was damaged by the tornado on March 15, 1938, but has 
been rebuilt bigger and better than before. In 1950 it was 
leased to Krey Packing Company, and all local tomatoes are 
today canned in the Collinsville plant. 

The oldest farm implement company here is the J. I. Case 
Company, whose business is vitally important to the farmers of 
this community. The Case Company, founded in 1842, first 
built and sold threshers and later entered the farm tool field 
in general. Its local representative is Hugh Edwards, who is 
now located on the Old St. Louis road, after beginning his 
business without any capital in 1937. Other similar retail es- 
tablishments are the International Harvester Company, on Mas- 


coutah avenue, managed by Mr. Ellar Daab; the John Deere 
Company, called the Quality Farm Equipment Company, 
located on East "A" street and managed by Melvin Timmer- 
mann, Festus Becker, and Terrel Dungey; the Allis Chalmers 
Company on North High street, managed by Mr. Arthur 
Schmidt; and the Minneapolis-Moline Company on the Old 
St. Louis Road and South Fifty-ninth street, represented by 
Cyril Voellinger. 

A new dress plant was established locally through the efforts of 
the Civic Investment Trust Association. It employs a minimum 
of 150 and a maximum of 400 girls, with an estimated pay roll 
of $300,000 a year. It is located in the plant of the old Belleville 
Stove Works, which was remodeled by the Civic Investment 
Trust Association. The managers are Ed. F. Keefer, Arnold 
Salzenstein, S. S. Rosenberg, and A. L. Cohen. 

The Belleville Casket Company was organized in September, 
1919, by Dr. Edward R. Houston, James H. Land, and Leonard 
Schmidt. In September, 1919, William J. Bien was added as 
secretary, and since January, 1923, has been the president of 
the company. Edgar G. Fritz is today the first vice-president; 
Clem J. Hartmann, second vice-president; and Ruth A. Sterling, 
is the secretary and general manager. The company today 
employs a total of 42 workers, ranks among the 25 largest in 
the United States, and sells its product throughout the Middle 
West. It is capitalized at $25,000, represents an investment of 
$250,000 and maintains a display room at 115 East "B" street 
and another at 4219 Laclede avenue in St. Louis. 

The Eddy Paper Corporation, a manufacturer of corrugated 
and solid fibre shipping containers, is an Illinois corporation, 
the successor of the Eddy Paper Company, a Michigan corpora- 
tion, was incorporated in November, 1922. The officers of the 
Illinois corporation are J. W. Kieckhefer, president; Anthony 
Haines, vice-president; R. C. Meier, treasurer; and W. F. 
Kieckhefer, secretary. 


The Michigan Corporation, its predecessor, was started in 
1906. Henry Eddy of Kalamazoo and Three Rivers, Michigan, 
was the founder. 

In 1922 a re-organization w^as made, with the Illinois corpora- 
tion acquiring the properties of the Eddy Paper Company of 
Michigan, and in 1927 the Kieckhefer interests assumed mana- 
gement of the company. 

The Belleville plant, built in 1948, has an area of 90,000 
square feet and is located at Otto and Sahlander streets. It has 
a capacity of approximately 1400 tons per month, which means 
that approximately 1400 tons of paper can be converted into 
shipping containers in that time. Harvey E. Moore, is resident 
manager; Robert E. Washburn, office manager; Dean H. 
Jones, sales-service manager; and Hubert S. Munson, superin- 
tendent. At the present time this plant employs seventy persons 
in its factory and 15 in the office. 

One of the largest manufacturers of monuments in this region 
is the Tisch Monument Works, founded by Theodore Tisch 
in 1877. Walter P. Tisch, Sr., his son, is the present manager, 
while his son Waldo is associated with him. The business is 
located at both Third and West A streets and 9041 West Main 

The Adolph H. Honer Monument Works, located at 829 
South Illinois street, is owned and operated by Mr. Honer, 
who has been in this business practically all his life. 

Belleville's products, both agricultural and industrial, find 
a steady market in St. Louis. Commercial vegetable gardening 
is practiced to a large extent and such produce as sweet corn, 
horseradish, tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes, spinach, cabbage, aspar- 
agus, watermelon, cantaloupes, and smaller fruits comprise the 
principal garden products. 

More wheat and potatoes are produced in St. Clair County 
than in any other in Illinois. Crops grown and sold are wheat, 
com, oats, alfalfa, red clover, sweet clover, Irish potatoes, and 
sweet potatoes. Pork, beef, poultry, and dairy products also 


are well represented. 

One vegetable, the asparagus, has given Belleville nation- 
wide fame. Conditions for growing a very fine variety of white 
asparagus are most favorable here, and the demand for it 
exceeds the supply. Belleville asparagus is featured on the menus 
of leading hotels throughout the country. The Goetz farm on 
the Freeburg road is especially famous for this product. 

The financial status of a community is an index of its ability 
to engage in industrial activity and a determination of its buying 
power. Local industries are financed almost wholly by local 
capital. Deposits in Belleville's four banks, which total more 
than $10,000,000, reflect sound business practices and fair 
wages. The resources of its six building and loan associations 
total more than $4,000,000. Local capital invested in its indus- 
tries represents some $6,000,000. 

In 1940, there were 47 manufacturing establishemnts, the 
leading one being the stove industries. The products of plants 
are stoves, cigars, beer, caskets, millwork, containers, dyes, 
machine work, stencil machines, shoes, flour, paints, boilers, 
tacks, tools, canned goods, and artificial stone. 

During the World War II boom our industries received 
approximately $1,374,812 in defense work, exclusive of ad- 
ditional Scott Field work which was estimated at $18,000,000. 

A very active Chamber of Commerce is constantly interested 
in promoting the welfare of the local industries. Its officers in 
1951 were: Wesley Bloomer, president; Louis Saeger, first vice- 
president; Al C. Schwesig, second vice-president; Wilfred Holle, 
treasurer; Walter Wagner, executive vice-president; Lois Heu- 
blein and Betty Kniepman, secretary and stenographers. 

Belleville's Civic Investment Trust Association, with a capital 
of $100,000 was formed to find jobs, to increase industrial 
markets and retails sales, and to stabilize production, payrolls, 
agricultural income, and real estate values. 

Three railroads, the Illinois Central, the Louisville and Nash- 



ville, and the Southern, serve the city, which had, until recently, 
connections with the Alton and Southern, and the Belleville 
and East St. Louis Electric Railway switch lines. 

Belleville's trading area extends seven miles west, thirty miles 
east, eight miles north, and forty miles south. The population 
in this area is 75,000, of which 32,000 are within the city 
limits. In its industries 2792 workers, who are strongly united 
in the affiliated unions of the American Federation of Labor, 
are employed. 

Today's major industries employing fifty men or more, 
their dates of organization and present managers are as follows: 

1837 J. F. Imbs Milling Co. 

1851 Griesedieck-Western Brewery 

1854 Star Peerless Brewery Co. 

1878 Excelsior Foundry Co. 

1883 Eagle Foundry Co. 

1885 Harmony Foundry Co. 

1890 Enterprise Foundry Co. 

1898 International Shoe Co. 

1902 Orbon Stove Co. 

1904 Belleville Shoe Mfg. Co. 

1905 Oakland Foundry Co. 

1906 Meyer, Charles and Co. 
1906 St. Clair Ice Co. 

1910 Century Brass Works 

1911 Ideal Stencil Machine Co. 

1912 Premier Stove Co. 

1916 Roesch Enamel Range Co. 

1916 Karr Range Co. 

1917 Streck Brothers 

1918 Belleville Casket Co. 
1920 Supreme Foundry Co. 
1920 Marsh Stencil Machine Co. 
1928 Peerless Enamel Products Co. 

R. F. Imbs 

Ed. D. Jones 

A. C. Fischer 

Eddy Rogers 

M. G. Klemme 

Leo. Filstead 

Eugene Klein 

J. J. Fox 

I. J. Leopold 

Walter Weidmann 

King Ehret 

Ben Fox 

Karl Pflanz 

Fred Lutz 

Clarence E. Rapp 

O. W. Wegener 

Henry Oesterle 

Ed. Karr 

Clarence Streck 

William J. Bien 

Edw. P. Karr 

Walt Marsh 

R. G. Willman 



1932 Empire Stove 

1941 Princess Peggy, Inc., Items Div. 

1949 Reynolds Spring Co. 

1949 Eddy Paper Corp. 

1950 Krey Packing Co. 

Edw. Kaufman 

J. Edw. Vinning 

Don Munn 

Harvey Moore 

Jos. Williams 

The smaller, but active ones, are as follows: 

Acme Pattern Co. 
A. H. Honer Monument Works 
Beck Cigar and Tobacco Co. 
Bauer Bros. Construction Co. 
Belleville Awning Co. 
Belleville Crate Co. 
Belleville Sheet Metal Co. 
Dresel-Betz Co. 
Egyptian Foundry Co. 
Excelsior Foundry Co. 
General Magnesium 
Germ-Elim Co. 
Gundlach Machine Works 
Harrison Machine Works 
Joseph Magin Cigar Co. 
Original Enamel Range Co. 
Qualified Range Co. 
Quality Plating Works 
Southern Boiler Works 
Stanley Nail Works 
Specialty Tool Manufacturers 
Swansea Stone Works 
Tisch Monument Works 
U. S. Smelting Furnace 


33 Grand 

829 South Illinois 

123 North Illinois 

424 Lebanon 

200 North Jackson 

South 23rd 

820 West "A" 

East Main and Florida 

Ben Hemmer 

1200 East "B" 

612 South Third 

1127 East "B" 

Centerville Ave. 

1500 East Main 

221 East Main 

Lebanon Road 

C. A. Tickenor 

1651 North Charles 

215 West Adams 

1200 East "B" 

720 South Illinois 

Caseyville Road 

North Third and "A" 

1200 West "A" 

Karl Merck, Sr., was born in Germany, arrived in this 
country in 1835 and opened his first bakery in that year in 


the 200 block of South lUinois street. A few years later he moved 
to 24 West Main street, where the bakery is still located, and 
where his son Charles later assumed control. 

Feickert's Bakery is among the oldest in the city, having been 
established in 1851 by Christian A. Feickert at its present 
location. Feickert emigrated to America in 1836, coming directly 
to Belleville from Prussia, where he was born in 1819. Before 
starting the bakery he was employed as an engineer in the old 
Hinckley mill. In 1882 he bought the old jail, which adjoined 
his bakery property, from the city. After his death the business 
was successfully conducted by his son, C. Arthur Feickert. 
Today this modern and up-to-date bakery is owned and managed 
by Carl Ruffing. 

Albert Buechler, another native German, setded in Belleville 
in 1858 where he was employed by Fred Rupp, then publisher 
of the Belleviller Zeitung, a German newspaper. In 1872 he 
secured employment with the Omaha, Nebraska, Herald, work- 
ing later in leading printing houses in St. Louis. His second 
son, Joseph N. Buechler, founded the printing company that 
today bears his name, and has been active in this for 48 years. 
In 1910 he purchased the property at 322 West Main street, 
his present location, and today has one of the best equipped 
offices in Southern Illinois. 

The Record Printing and Advertising Company of today is 
the continuation of a printing business established in 1847. 
George Semmelroth, a native German, entered the partnership 
in 1858, at which time a weekly German newspaper was pub- 
hshed. At his death the Belleviller Post & Zeitung was pub- 
lished by his sons, Herman and August. Later the business 
was changed to a commercial printing and jobbing company, 
and operated by Herman's sons, Arthur and Norman Semmel- 

Before the advent of the automobile, the horse and mule 


business, as well as carriage manufacturing, were among 
the city's most flourishing enterprises. The Baer Brothers firm, 
dealers in horses and mules, was established in 1866. It was 
originally known as Loewenstein and Baer. In 1886 the Baers, 
Aaron and Amson, bought Loewenstein's interest, and there- 
after conducted the business as the Baer Brothers. David Baer, 
son of Aaron, joined the firm in 1895, acquiring Amson's share 
after the latter's death. Later Lee, son of Aaron, also became 
associated with the business. Although they sell horses, their 
speciality was mule selling, having at one time supplied most 
of the coal mines with these. Their location was at 314 North 
High street. 

Wolfort and Company, located at 200 North High street, 
are similar dealers. They were organized in 1869 under the 
name of Meyer, Neuburger, and Wolfort. Later the first two 
disposed of their interests to Leopold Wohlgemuth, and for 
some years the business was conducted as Wolfort and Wohlge- 
muth. In 1894, Philip Wolfort, one of the original founders 
died, and his heirs, buying out Wohlgemuth, have conducted 
the business ever since under its present name. 

Outstanding in Belleville's industrial life in the earlier days 
were its carriage factories, and the town boasted of several. 
First of these to be established here was the Volney L. Williams 
Carriage Works, which was established at the southeast corner 
of West Main and Third streets in 1837. Later it was conducted 
by his son Henry Williams, who moved it on East "A" street, 
between High and Jackson streets, the site where the Wagner 
Garage now stands. 

The Heinzelman Brothers Carriage Works, founded in 1857 
by John A. Heinzelman and Henry Timken (of roller bearing 
fame), occupied the building now used by the Belleville 
Casket Company at the intersection of North Jackson and East 
"B" streets. In 1866 it was taken over by Heinzelman's sons, 
John Jr., and William, who managed it until July, 1892, when 


John's sons William, Reginald, and Fred took it over, and they 
in turn operated it until 1917. During the St. Louis World's 
Fair in 1904, they received eight awards for their exhibits. 

Before the turn of the century, and for some years before, 
at the corner of North Jackson and East "A" streets, stood the 
Merker, Wirsing, and Hertel Carriage Works, organized in 
1883 by William R. Merker, Adam Wirsing and Adolph Hertel. 
Most of its production consisted of phaetons, surreys, park 
wagons, carriages, and spring wagons, in fact everything made 
in the line of horse-drawn vehicles. 

In 1878 the Novelty Carriage Works was organized and 
operated by Gustave Ludwig, Ludwig Beck, and Joseph Steg- 
mayer. Their location was the original location of the Volney 
Williams shop. Later it was conducted by Ludwig and Steg- 
mayer, and finally only by Ludwig. 

Until the day of the chain store, the William Eckhardt 
Grocery was for many years the largest and most complete bus- 
iness of its kind in this area. Its founder was a musician who 
had started his career as a druggist. In 1867, he established the 
grocery business that carried his name, at 104-108 West Main 
street, where for many years after Mr. Eckhardt's death, it 
was conducted by his sons Max and Erwin Eckhardt. Later it 
was located at 124 West Main street. In 1945 he sold the 
building to Howard Kloess who conducted the Vitality Feed 
Store there. 

There are four first-class undertaking establishments in Belle- 
ville today. They are as follows. Pete Gaerdner, located 
at 250 Lebanon avenue; Renner, Geminn, at East 
"B" and North Illinois streets; Gundlach and Company on 
East "A" and North High streets; and the Bux Funeral Home 
at 3500 West Main street. 

The town's leading florists are Grossart Sons on East Main 
street, estblished by Gustav Grossart and carried on by his sons, 
Amo and Fred. The other is the Klamm Florist on Scheel 


Street, founded and managed by Irvin Klamm today. Two others 
are John Miller, 127 Mascoutah avenue, and Matt Schoenen- 
berger Florist, managed at present by Irvin G. Krumrich, 811 
West "E" street. 

The Belleville Commercial College had been for many years 
a household word, for most local businessmen have received 
some of their education in this institution. Its founder was 
Joseph Foeller who opened his first school on August 1, 1893, 
at 18 East Main street above the old Savings Bank. Arthur J. 
Foeller succeeded his father in 1914. In 1943, after his death, 
his sister Adel Foeller continued the school until about 1945 
when it closed its doors. 

Among the leading bakeries are the Home Bakery, established 
by John Wilbert in 1896, the Seifferth, Merck, Phil Stetzner's, 
Schneider, and Feickert Bakery. 

On June 18, 1900, the Kinloch Company began the installa- 
tion of a telephone system and opened it to the public in 
November of that year. The Bell Telephone of Missouri had 
already been established here since 1882, when the city council 
granted it the privilege to maintain and operate an exchange. 
The Bell system has, since August 15, 1924, bought out the 
Kinloch and has the entire field to itself. Service today is given 
by the Southwestern Bell Telephone Company, a subsidiary 
of the American Telephone and Telegraph. It operates both 
local and long-distance switchboards, and, at the present time, 
has about 14,500 telephones installed. Its growth has been 
very rapid and its service excellent. 

In June, 1895, the city of Belleville contracted with the 
Bell Telephone Company for the installation of 21 telephones 
which were placed in different city wards at a rental of $25 
per year. In February, 1 896, the city council passed an ordinance 
granting a franchise to W. J. Kurtz to construct and maintain 
a private telephone system in Belleville. The rates were 25 
cents per week for private or residential telephones and 50 


cents per week for business houses. This ordinance provided 
also for furnishing telephones to the city free of charge, for 
the police and for fire alarms. 

Mr. Frank Sadorf, founder of the Paris Cleaning Establish- 
ment, first permanent establishment of its kind to have been es- 
tablished here, was born in Austria on September 12, 1875, and 
left that country to seek his fortune in the New World. He set- 
ded first in St. Louis, working there for a former Austrian school- 
mate named Lungstras, who owned the largest cleaning establish- 
ment in that city. He remained with him for three years, and 
in 1906, while visiting in Belleville, decided to establish a 
business of his own. The first location was where the Cook 
Paint Store now is, but in 1920 he bought the present location 
at 309 East Main street. It continued to be managed and owned 
by his two sons, Frank and Matthew, but in 1950 they sold 
out to the Klyne brothers. The Paris Cleaner and Dyers is a 
business that is fulfilling a vital need in the city. 

The firm Julleis and Son Feed Mill, located at Centerville 
and Eigth streets was established in 1905 by Herman Julleis 
and his two sons, Herman and Joseph. 

The St. Clair Ice Company, located at 721 West Main street, 
just west of Richland Creek, was established in 1908, and be- 
came incorporated in 1927. Water is taken from a well 462 
feet deep and is blended with city water and aerated before 
going into the plant for the manufacture of ice. It is under the 
management of Karl Pflanz, and it operates continually, pro 
ducing 50.8 tons of ice daily, all of which is consumed locally. 
In 1939 a modern locker plant containing 1000 lockers was 

Peter Fellner, late president of the Fellner-Ratheim Dry 
Goods Store was bom in Germany, April 18, 1868. Leaving 
there on February 28, 1893, he came to Belleville where he 
found employment with Kanzler Brothers Grocery and Dry 
Goods Store on North Illinois street. On October 15, 1898, 


he accepted a position with the Horn and Rodenheiser Dry 
Goods Company, which he and his partner, Paul Ratheim, 
eventually bought out, forming the present dry goods firm. 
He died in October 1941. 

Prior to 1852, Belleville's banking history is vague, and little 
of a definite nature has been recorded. But in that year Russel 
Hinckley established his private banking institution, and until 
its failure it was the leading bank in the community. It was 
located on the present site of the First National Bank, occupying 
a building erected in approximately 1839 for the Illinois State 
Bank. This one-story building was razed in 1896 to make way 
for the present bank structure. 

Besides the Hinckley bank failure, Belleville's history records 
three others. The Bank of Belleville, established in 1855 by 
Bogy, Miltenburg, and Company, which was located in the old 
Thomas House, failed in 1858. Although the loss was partially 
attributed to the lessened value of bank bills, it was due 
largely to fraud, and its president was indicted for swindle. 

The People's Bank, organized in 1869 with quarters in the 
old Belleville House, closed its doors on April 22, 1878, attri- 
buting its failure largely to the failure of the Belleville Nail 

More recently the Belleville Bank and Trust Company, 
organized in 1903, an outstanding institution during its life 
time, closed its doors on January 27, 1938, the misappropriation 
of funds by its cashier showing a shortage of more than 

The Belleville Savings Bank is today not only the oldest in 
the city, but the third oldest in the state. It was organized on 
February 20, 1859. Until 1869, it was known as the St. Clair 
Savings and Insurance Company, but after discontinuing the 
insurance business it adopted its present name. The original 
bank was located in the Neuhoff Building, a few doors west of 
the Public Square on the south side of West Main street. In 


1865 it moved to East Main street, at first occupying the ad- 
joining building west of its present location. 

At the present Belleville has four banks, the First National, 
the St. Clair National, the Belleville Savings and the Belleville 
National. The combined capital and surplus is more than $1,- 
427,500.00, and the total resources more than $15,000,000. 

The First National Bank, established in 1874 and at present 
the largest in the city, was the first to join the Federal Reserve 
System in 1914 and establish the savings account feature. 

On October 15, 1919, the St. Clair National Bank was opened 
for business with a capital of $150,000.00 and a paid surplus 
of $30,000.00. The officers at the time were William Reichert, 
Frank Gundlach, and Arthur Eidman. 

The Belleville National Bank was organized on March 28, 
1928, with a capital stock of $100,000. Among those prominent 
in its progress were John Wilbert, Carl Tritt, Joseph Minor, 
Walter Freudenberg, A. T. Sprich, P. C. Otwell, F. A. Keiner, 
L. R. McKinley, Harrison Schmisseur, Harvey Lippert, August 
Eschman, Otto Neuhaus, E. C. Eidman, Richard Schramm, 
Dr. S. W. McKelvey, Lee Grandcolas and William Schmisseur. 
All these banks at the present time have first-class ratings, have 
shown a steady growth, are conservative, and have given the 
city splendid service. 

The darkness ruled with very little opposition when night 
fell in the young city. The unimproved streets were dark and 
treacherous, especially on rainy, stormy nights. It was, therefore, 
with much enthusiasm that the people welcomed the coming 
of the gas lamp in 1856. Even though it cast a weak and flick- 
ering hght, the three cast iron lamp posts erected in each of 
the city blocks were a big improvement. 

The illuminating agent used in these street lights was a coal 
gas manufactured by the Belleville Gas and Coke Company plant 
located on Richland Creek where today the electric distributing 


Station stands. It was a local stock company capitalized at $75,- 
000. This company laid over five miles of main pipe under the 
streets and installed 152 street lamps. Other streets too were 
illuminated, and in 1880 the gasoline light, a new type of illu- 
mination was tried out on Church street. In 1882, the electric 
light, the mar\'el of the age, was introduced in the city, which 
was now so well lighted that a flock of geese migrating south, 
flew over the city on the night of November 2, 1882, the first 
night that the lights were on and became so blinded and 
confused that they landed in the town. The night, heavy with 
clouds and moisture, caused the lights to be reflected so as to 
illuminate every nook and corner confusing the geese to whom 
it must have seemed that there was one patch of daylight in 
the darkened night. 

Belleville is supplied with enough electric power today to 
meet almost any demand. It is furnished by the Illinois Power 
Company through its Cahokia plant in East St. Louis and 
Venice, Illinois, and is transmitted by power lines carrying 
66,000 volts. 

Belleville had 36 wholesale establishments in 1939 that did 
$3,358,000 worth of business that year. Its employees received 
a total payroll of $176,000. 

Perhaps the largest sales at that time in any one line of 
business were those in petroleum products, which totaled $1,- 
085,000 and had a pay roll of $53,000 for 29 employees. 

In 1850 the following number of businesses, industries, and 
professions were located in Belleville: 6 hotels, 12 dry good 
stores, 23 groceries, 4 drug stores, 8 doctors, 3 saddle shops, 
12 boot and shoe makers, 8 cabinet makers, 9 wagon makers, 
3 chair makers, 10 copper shops, 17 carpenter shops, 11 black- 
smiths, 4 bakers, 1 iron stove, 1 pill factory, 4 plasterers, 4 
painters, 4 tinners, 7 schools, 9 tailors, 12 lawyers, 2 barber 
shops, 1 plow maker, 3 soap factories, 6 butchers, 1 carding 
mill, 2 silver smiths, 2 flour mills, 3 breweries, 1 threshing 



machine factory, 2 tanning yards, and 1 woolen factory. 

By 1939 there were 5 beer, wine, and liquor firms that had 
a yearly sale of $610,000. There were three general line gro- 
ceries whose sales totaled $536,000 yearly. Six building and 
loan associations, namely, the Belleville Security, Citizens, First 
Mutual, Greater Belleville, Home, and West Side, whose 
total resources amount to $3,198,526, do business in Belleville. 

The following business establishments reflect the growth of 
our city today. 

A and L Woodcraft Shop 

Belleville Botding Co. 

Belleville Dairy 

Belleville St. Louis Coach Co 

Berger, Ben Contractor 

Biebel Roofing Co. 

Bien and Peter 

Blust, Fred Co. 

Bonnelle, Tony Co. 

Brutto, Syl, Coal Hauling 

Buesch Nurseries 

Building Products Corp. 

Coca Cola Bottling Co. 

Commercial Garage 

Culligan Soft Water Service 

Daesch, E. A. 

Dahm Plumbing and Heating 

Dr. Pepper Bottling Co. 

East St. Louis and Interurban Water Co. 

Ebel, Irvin O, Plumbing and Heating Co 

Evans Tree Service 

Fat's Express 

Feickert Bakery 

Flach, Paul E. Contractor 

Frick, L. C. Service Co. 

720 West Adams 

209 North Illinois 

824 Centerville 

Public Square 

300 West Monroe 

503 West Main 

123 South 16th 

Westhaven Place 

600 Lebanon 

6400 West Main 

36 Orchard Drive 

Freeburg Avenue 

Forty-sixth and Belt 

South Twentieth and L C. RR 

111 West "A" 

728 State 

11th and West "C" 

1901 West Main 

100 North Illinois 
310 State 

1305 Schilhng 
501 South Second 

101 North Illinois 
6520 West Main 

303 West Main 



Fruth Motor Truck Service 

Geissler Roofing Co., Inc. 

General Welding Supply 

Gooding Truck Service 

Gundlach, P. M. Sons 

Hechenberger, Herman 

Hessler, F. J. and Son 

Hoeffken Brothers Supply and 

Holland Furnace Co. 

Home-Brite Lumber Co. 

Home Modernizing 

Hug Brothers 

Hy^rade Foundry Co. 

Illinois Power Co. 

Kehrer Bros. Excavating Co. 

Keil Tin Shop 

Kettler Tool and Die Shop 

Kloess Brick Co. 

Kloess Contracting Co. 

Ladewig, Ernest 

Liese Lumber Co. 

Lipe, Claude 

Lippert, Harvey and Son 

M. and S. Transfer Co. 

Mager, Frank 

Mager, Wib L. Supply Co. 

Mellon, E. W. and Son 

Merck Bakery Co. 

Midwestern Butane Co. 

Minor Construction Co. 

Mohr Cigar Co. 

Neff Construction 

Nehi Botding Co. 

Quality Dairy 

Railway Express Agency Inc, 

216 East "B" 

606 South First 

1 1 5 North Illinois 

801 Scheel 

1400 North Illinois 

1121 North Church 

19 North Thirteenth 

Construction Co. 222 West "B" 

14 Market Square 

1600 North Illinois 

2701 Old St. Louis Road 

225 East Washington 

409 Dewey 

27 North Illinois 


301 North Illinois 

15a Florida 

200 North Twenty-First 

2615 West Main 

3520 West "A" 

319 East Main 

409 South Twenty-second 

906 Centerville 

800 Abend 

821 Union 

North Thirty-eighth 

301 South Second 

24 West Main 

432 South First 

709 St. Clair 

707 North Illinois 

309 South Sixteenth 

400 East "B" 

1400 North Seventeenth 

II North First 



Record Printing and Advertising Co. 

Reed, Elmer C, Co. 

Renth, Elmer A. 

Richland Stove Company 

Rouse, Stillman 

Rust, E. C. Plumbing 

St. Louis Dairy 

Signal Hill Lumber Co. 

Sinn, Lacergne Coal Co. 

Southwestern Bell Telephone Co. 

Sprague Truck Service 

Stolze Lumber Co. 

Tritt Brothers Belleville 

Tritt Brothers and Hoeffken Brothers 

Uhl, Andrew M. 

Vangenhen and Son 

Veile Contracting Co. 

Walter, Michael L. Co. 

Wegener, Bill and Mel 

Weyhaupt Bros. 

Yoch Construction Co. 

Ziska, Fred M. Coal Co. 


Although organized labor existed in Belleville before the 
Civil War it was not until April 12, 1891, that a central body 
was organized. The officers of the cigar makers' union, headed 
by John Ackerman, called this meeting, and Mr. Ackerman 
was elected as its first president, with Mr. Frank S. Bums of 
the glass blowers' union as its secretary. Eight locals, with a 
total membership of more than one thousand persons, were 
represented at this meeting. The organization prospered and 
expanded rapidly, and in June of that year two more locals 
affiliated themselves with it. The original locals, forming this 
central body, were the cigar makers, glass blowers, molders, 

115 South Illinois 

709 West Cleveland 

1705 North Illinois 

P. O. Box 239 

North Fifty-seventh 

22 North Tenth 

105 North Eighth 

9300 West Main 

9026 West Main 

17 North Illinois 

213 East "B" 

600 South Illinois 

National Bank Building 

222 West "B" 

Carlyle Road 

106 South Ninth 

1701 North Church 

804 East McKinley 

417 South Fourteenth 

1510 Lebanon 

700 South Illinois 

290 South Forty-sixth 


musicians, brewery workers, coal miner, carpenters, and stove 

The chief event for labor locally is the Labor Day celebration. 
In the morning a big parade is held, which is followed by a 
picnic, graced by a state or a national speaker in the afternoon. 
With favorable weather it is always a big success as all groups 
cooperate to make it such. It was discontinued during World 
War I, and again during World War II. 

Those who have serv^ed as presidents of the central body are: 
John Ackerman, Emile Kirchner, William Monsen, Al Boston, 
Adolph Scheske, William Green, James M. Sewall, John Shultz, 
Nic Schilling, George E. Boyce, James Borden, Charles Bender, 
William Arey, Henry Diller, William Jones, Nick Falcetti, 
Thomas Arey, T. J. Hitchings, Charles Markham, Fred H. 
Breuer, William T. Christopher, William Jampel, William Neb- 
gen, Thomas Cameron, Gust Fritz, Dave Stuart, Walter De- 
wein, Jacob Bollman, Floyd Long, S. D. Easter, Al. Towers, 
Thomas T. Wright, Ed. Wolters, George Badgley, and Arthur 

Al Towers held office as its secretary and publicity agent for 
more years than any man in the history of the organization. Mr. 
Towers was elected first on December 1, 1912, and served 
until he resigned in August, 1916. He returned in October, 
1924, and served until the latter part of May, 1937, when he 
resigned again. He died on December 22, 1940. Since his 
resignation the organization has divided the position, having 
now a separate publicity agent and recording secretary. 

The Central Trades and Labor body celebrated its golden 
anniversary in 1941 with the annual Labor Day parade and 
picnic. Roland W. Jung, then mayor, spoke on behalf of the 
city and extended congratulations to the workers for their fine 
progress and forward movement. 

Some of the city's best known men received their training 
in parliamentary law at the meetings of the central body which 


served as a school for many of them. Forty-four locals are affili- 
ated with it today, and its membership has increased to 10,000, 
all of whom cooperate with the affiliated locals. 

Belleville is regarded as a strong American Federation of 
Labor city. Ninety per cent of its working men either own 
their own homes or are buying them. 

The present officers of the Central Trades and Labor body 
are as follows: George Badgley, president; Irvin Werner, 
vice-president; Irwin Breidenbach, treasurer; Paul Schwesig, 
secretary; William P. Reichling, business agent; Blanche Helwig, 
Rudolph Strothman, Albert G. Young, trustees; Harold Gain, 


A Century of Progress 

Sports 1839-1951 

1^) aseball which had its beginning from the English game 
of cricket had its beginning in the United States in 1839, but 
it was introduced to Belleville in about 1860. The baseball 
square which now has been changed to the baseball diamond 
was drawn by Alexander Cartwright of New York City in about 
1845. The nine man team was first used in Hoboken, New 
Jersey in 1846, and the first rules of this game were drawn up 
by Mr. Cartwright. 

There have been many changes in the game since it was 
first plaved in 1839. The catcher did not always stand right 
behind the batter, and the batters at first used clubs that were 
very thick on the batting end. Stealing bases was not permitted 
before 1860, and laying down a bunt was unknown. The catcher 
did not use a glove before 1891, and nine balls gave the batter 
his base as late as 1880. The catcher did not wear a mask, nor 
did he have a chest protector before 1885. If a ball was lost 
during the game, all the players had to hunt for it for five 
minutes before a new one was tossed in. 

The first baseball team to be organized in our city was in 
the late 1870's when the Browns came into existence. The 
Nationals organized their team in 1885, and these two teams, 
which became the outstanding semi-pro clubs of the early days, 


were both managed by the late Adolph G. Fleischbein, the 
uncle of Fred Fleischbein who, until 1946, was connected with 
the Belleville Music Store. He was the outstanding sportsman 
of early Belleville and was a leader in the sportsman and gun 
organization, as well as a writer for a sportsman's magazine. 

One of Belleville's early baseball heroes who made good in 
the national pastime, in spite of the fact that it was not his 
chosen profession was Bob Groom. He had already completed 
a year's work as a medical student and hoped to be an out- 
standing physician some day, but when the call came to go 
to a spring training camp he could not resist. "Long Bob," 
as he was called, pitched a hitless game as a semi-pro for the 
old Belleville Simpson Stars in 1903 at the expense of Collins- 
ville, who had Art Fletcher, the great New York Yankee coach, 
on the mound. While with Portland in the Pacific Coast League 
in 1908, Groom pitched a no hit, no run game against Los 
Angeles. He was a pitcher for the Washington Senators from 
1909 to 1913, with the St. Louis Federals from 1914 to 1915, 
and the St. Louis Browns from 1916 to 1917, and with the 
Cleveland Indians in 1918. Twenty thousand fans at Sports- 
man's park witnessed a no hit, no run game he pitched 
with the Browns in 1917 against the Chicago White Sox. 

After his baseball career ended he returned to Belleville to 
live, indulging in the national pastime only twice thereafter, 
once in 1938 and again in 1939 as manager of the two teams 
of the American Legion Junior Baseball state champions. He 
lived at 1906 West Main street and was president of the Groom 
Coal Company, a mine located on the Freeburg Road. 

Max Flack, originally of Belleville but now living in East 
St. Louis, was another athletic hero, who figured in one of the 
strangest baseball incidents in the game's history. In a double- 
header between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs, 
Max played the first game with the Cards. Between the first 
and second game he was traded to the Cubs for Cliff Heath- 


cothe and played tor the Cubs in the second game of the double- 
header. He was a great outfielder and hitter, and helped the 
Chicago Cubs win the National League pennant in 1938. 

Belleville has been represented in major league baseball by 
at least 15 men, past and present, including some that have 
lived here all of their lives. They are as follows: Norman 
Schlueter, Al Glossop, Al Smith, Lester Mueller, Bob Groom, 
Max Flack, George Steuernagel, Hamilton Patterson, Billy 
Elwert, Jennings Bryan Patterson, Erwin Kreymeyer, James 
Decker, Otis Miller, Clarence Hoffman, Jess Doyle, and George 

The high school team, then coached by F. J. Friedli, won 
a state championship in 1934 by defeating Bloomington in 
a home and home series. Besides producing the championship 
team of 1934, his other coaching accomplishments are a no 
hit game by Jake Ullrich, four homers in one game by Fred 
Smith, one state championship, Les Mueller's strike-out record, 
and advance of several Maroons into organized baseball. 

The lighted athletic field at Illinois street and Cleveland ave- 
nue ranks far above some of those used by the minor league 
baseball teams today. Here the Stag Beer team has won its many 
victories. The city boasts of three championship teams in the 
American Legion Junior Baseball League. 

Basketball is belived to be the only game played in the 
United States today that is purely American in origin. All 
others are direct importations or hybrids of other games in 
foreign countries. 

The Southwestern High School Conference was organized 
in 1923 with Collinsville, Belleville, Granite City, Woodriver, 
Alton, and Edwardsville as members. In 1924, Mascoutah was 
added, and in 1925, Jerseyville, Madison and OTallon joined, 
making it a ten team league. In 1926, Mascoutah, OTallon and 
Madison dropped out, but East St. Louis joined making it 
an eight team organization. 


Belleville's first football team, known as the Tigers, was 
organized in the 1890*s. Ambng its players were William 
Hoppe, Dr. John Gunn, William Andel, Arthur Heinzelman, 
Ray Daniels, and Ray Whiteside. Just after the turn of the 
century the Belleville Bucks Football Team was organized and 
these boys made gridiron history in the rough days of that sport. 
The team was in existence seven years, disbanding in 1908. 
Theirs was an enviable record, for during their last five years 
they not only were untied and undefeated, but during that 
entire time no opposing team scored or even crossed their goal 
line. This great team averaged only 145 pounds a man, but they 
beat outfits, including college crews, which outweighed them 
nearly 40 pounds a player. Quite a few of the boys were 
offered scholarships to play for colleges. 

William (Cuddy) Gilbert was its captain. Among its players 
were Theodore R. Smith, Edward J. (Mucher) Engler, Ralph 
Leunig, William Huber, Arthur Hoffmann, Dr. Harry Reuss, 
William W. Underwood, William Powell, Fred Pope, Assistant 
County Treausurer J. Paul Moeller, Errol Kraemer, Charles 
McCuIlough, and Lawrance Selle. Aloys Hahn acted as their 
business manager. 

Following right on the Bucks came the second Tiger team, 
which was organized in 1909 with Charles A. Betz as its 
manager. Included among its members were Earl (Punk) 
Wangelin, Roy Gilber, Ed Biggs, Arthur Ward, Charles Ehing- 
er, Ernst Rodenmeyer, J. Rodenmeyer, George Karr, Elmer 
Baldus, Wallace Brandenburger, Oscar Neuner, Arthur Spoen- 
emann, Ollie Goss, Roland Nebgen, John Keck, John Mowe, 
and Albert Loos. 

About 1916 the Tigers underwent another revision. Some 
of the previous players held over, but added to these were 
Severin Poirot, Adolph Brandenburger, John Holtman, Adolph 
Fischer, Peter Maurer, John Roach, and Hugo Stark who gave 
his life in the first World War. 


In 1929, the Belleville Township High School football team 
was really made up of 1 1 iron men, for in that year they defeated 
all the other conference members for the conference football 
championship. It was captained by Eddy James Rogers and 
coached by Edgar Gunderson. The members of the team were 
Leslie Cole, Ernest Glossop, Bernard Cole, Carl Kane, Ellis 
Patterson, Robert Aufdenspring, Harley Stiehl, Ralph Coburn, 
Walter Rauth, Charles Riegger, Winston Bullington, Relfe 
Ehret, and Merlyn Runyon. 

With the start of Hubert Tabor's regime as football coach 
and the completion of a new stadium at the Township High 
School, interest in this particular sport received a boost. Larger 
turnouts of candidates for football at both high schools became 
evident, the turnout at the Cathedral High School being larger 
in proportion to the students enrolled. Charles Gervig and 
Elmer Jackson, were placed on the all-state eleven in 1938 
and 1939 respectively. 

The first championship team produced by Tabor was in 
1938 when he had, apparently, eleven perfect gentlemen, and 
each of them a star football player. They were Vigil Wagner 
and Charles Gervig co-captains, Clyde Wiskamp, Allen Bever- 
age, Creighton Cory, Lorraine Schlosser, Bob Seib, John Schell, 
William Reichert, Elmer Jackson, Walter Schmisseur, Leroy 
Anna, Stewart McCord, Ralph Groh, Edward Dahm, Donald 
Le Pere, Warren Taylor, Bill Bevin, Warren Wild, Dean 
Johnson, Arthur Corn, Ernst Miller, Robert Moore and Lowell 
Grissom. Walter Schmisseur and Warren Wild both made 
the supreme sacrifice in World War II. In 1944 and 1949 
the team tied with East St. Louis and Alton for the conference 

The outstanding annual sports event is the football game be- 
tween the Belleville and East St. Louis high schools on the 
morning of Thanksgiving Day. This has been a permanent 
contest since 1927, and record crowds vdtness the clash every 


year. The playing field alternates between the two schools, 
and both the local high school student body and the general 
population are always glad when it is a home game. 

The high school athletic grounds consists of five all-weather 
tennis courts believed to be the best high school courts in the 
state, a running track built to specifications furnished by the 
University of Illinois, a girls hockey field, and a new concrete 
stadium, complete with a band stand and a press box, and 
capable of seating 7,800 persons comfortably. 

The stadium was a Works Project Administration project 
which was approved by the government in January, 1939, 
begun in March of that year. It is 420 feet long, 206 feet wide, 
has an underground drainage capacity of 1200 gallons per 
minute, a lighting system of five poles on each side with six 
reflectors on each, a public address system using four of the 
latest type reflex trumpet speakers, a drinking fountain at each 
end, which is connected to a copper coil fourteen feet under- 
ground holding eight gallons of water, a flag pole 60 feet above 
the oround, two rest rooms at the east end, and 106 feet of 
exit space that make it possible to empty the stadium in three 
minutes. The construction cost was $130,840.00. 

The stadium was completed in the spring of 1940 and dedi- 
cated on the night of the Belleville Township High School- 
Cathedral High School game, October 1„ 1940. C. W. Whitten, 
executive secretary of the Illinois High School Association 
said that it was one of the finest stadiums in the state. Roland 
Jung, then president of the school board delivered an address 
at the dedication. The Board of Education consisted of Fred 
Merrills, secretary; Dr. Edmund Bechtold, Alvin Stenzel, Dr. 
Lester Rauth, Ed Fuhrman, Adolph Viehmann, and Elmer 
Roberts. Head coach Hubert Tabor and assistant coach Walter 
Rauth were also introduced. 

A beautiful American flag was presented to the school by 
Commander James Burnett, who represented the American 


Legion. While the high school band played "The Star Spangled 
Banner," the Hag was raised to the top of the sixty-foot pole 
flooded by two spot lights. It was accepted by H. G. Schmidt, 
principal, who then introduced F. J. Friedli the athletic director, 
who has since been replaced by C. A. Armstrong in 1945, 
who took charge of the rest of the program. After a few remarks 
he presented Brother Wilfred P. Moran, S.M., Ph.D. who 
spoke for the Cathedral High School. 

For a while there had been a decline in tennis at the high 
school, but Fred Nafziger, the new coach, was largely instru- 
mental in reviving it. Past tennis champions include Ellar Daab, 
Elmer Hirth, and Howard Braun. Five very modern courts 
have been built at the high school. 

Great records in track and field events have been made at 
the Township High School of late. Coach Ted Harpstreit's 
Maroons in 1939 and again in 1944 were the most outstanding 
in the history of the school. Wrestling, sport recently added to 
the school athletic program, is coached by Walter Rauth. 
Although no conference championship team has as yet been 
produced, Elmer Jackson, a member of the team, was the first 
boy to ever win a state title for the local high school, and it 
happened to be in this newest sport. 

Belleville is no doubt one of the greatest bowling cities for 
its size in the United States. There are nine bowling alleys in 
w^hich various leagues play every night except Saturday and 

Interest in boxing has been revived by the monthly amateur 
boxing shows. 

Golf too is a favorite sport. Belleville has one eighteen hole 
grass green, the St. Clair Country Club, and three nine 
hole grass and sand fee courses at Westhaven Golf Course, 
Belleville Golf Course, and Oakhill's Golf Course. 

In 1939 there was a revival of league competition in horse- 
shoe pitching, with special matches taking place all over the 


city. The ringer record holder was Richard Wedel. 

Harold Groh brought athletic honors home when he won 
the Big Ten diving tide in 1927-28 as a member of the 
University of Illinois swimming team. 

Strange as it may seem, Amos Thompson, who never owned 
a gun and killed only one deer during his lifetime— and that 
was accidental— had a son, Cyrus, who became Belleville's great- 
est big game hunter. Accompanied by Dr. C. P. Renner and 
Oliver Joseph, he made several trips into the southwestern 
part of Canada, as well as into the western mountain states for 
big game. There he brought down moose, elk, deer, antelope, 
bear, foxes, lynx, wild cats, mountain lions, mountain goats, 
wolves, and coyotes. Cyrus Thompson lived to the ripe old age 
of 92, passing away in 1937. So famous had he become as a 
hunter that the leading sportsmen's magazine of the country 
requested him to write of his experiences, and his stories made 
him a national figure in big game hunting. 

Other sports engaged in are horse back riding, fishing, 
bicycling, motorcycling, pigeon racing, pocket billiards, soft 
ball, table tennis, and trap shooting. The last mentioned takes 
place at the Randle Country Club, and its crack shots are Roy 
Christmann, Arthur W. Bischoff, and Oscar and Julian Scheske. 
In August 1950, Oscar Scheske won the National Trap Shoot 
at Vandalia, Ohio. 


Cities play the dominant role in the evolution of human 
culture. This is true because urban life powerfully influences 
the cultural interests of the entire community. The city is 
also a controlling factor in national life, for as the city is, so 
is the nation. City people supply most of the national leader- 
ship. Through the daily press and the radio the city dominates 
public opinion. It sets the fashions— in morals, in manner, and 


in dress. The ideals of the nation are determined by the in- 
fluential elements in its population. 

Music ranks high in the culture of any city. The Germans 
who setded here brought with them their traditional love of 
music and song. Belleville's earliest musical organization, a 
singing society begun in 1855 and called the Saenger Bund, 
was definitely the outstanding singing society of this community. 
It gave its concerts at the old City Park Theater. 

Belleville has had its native composers. The first one was 
John Brosius, who, in August 1863, composed a waltz entided 
"Belleville" or "Schoenestadt." Then there was H. G. Paro, 
who on October 11, 1895, composed the "Company D March." 
This proved quite a success, for it was played by John Phillip 
Sousa's band in St. Louis. 

The Belleville Band, the city's first, was organized in the 
early 1840's. Frederick Krimmel was its president and Peter 
Wilding its secretary. It dissolved in the summer of 1846. 

Early in 1860, including both string and wind instruments, 
the Saxe Horn Band, was organized with Professor James as 
its director, and its headquarters in the northeast corner of Main 
and High streets. Its leader was John W. Hillim, its captain, 
A. L. McKane, and members John C. Hart, Charles Fleisch- 
bein, William R. Neighbors, Hugh Harrison, John Thoma, 
Charles and Thomas Fleming, John and Thomas Schoupe, and 
Philip Davis. 

In the early sixties Frank Boehm also conducted a band, 
which in 1864 gave free concerts at the City Park Garden, 
the present site of the abandoned Budweiser Garden on West 
A street, between North First and North Second streets. 

In 1865, the Bavarian Band was organized, and for many 
years it was the outstanding one in the entire community. Its 
name was derived from the fact that its members had all come 
from Bavaria, Germany. John Maurer, its leader for a number 
of years, resigned in 1883 to accept the position of orchestra 


leader in the Kansas City, Missouri, Grand Opera House. 

1881 saw the organization of the Concordia Band, which 
for many years was under the direction of John W. Marsh, 
with M. J. Baumgarten as its manager. It, too, had a high 
rating, and for many years it and the Bavarian Band were real 
rivals for musical honors. However, in the fall of 1899, a con- 
solidation of these two bands was effected under the leadership 
of Professor Charles Krieger. 

Professor Edwin Mayr, an able musician, organized a band 
in 1906. However, it was not until the American Legion Band 
came into being in 1924 that Belleville once more had a 
spectacular and ribbon-winning musical organization. 

Today both the grade schools and the Township High 
School have splendid bands, as do also the parochial schools. 

On November 19, 1866, a group of musicians organized an 
orchestral musical society called the Philharmonics, which gave 
its first concert on January 26, 1867. The organizers were Dr. 
Carl Neubert, Carl Magin, Henry Viehmann, Martin Medar, 
Theodore Decker, Martin Hess, and Christopher Espenhain. 
It is still in existence and claims to be the second oldest musical 
organization of its kind in the United States. Its conductors 
have been: Theodore Decker, 1866-69; Julius Liese, 1869-85; 
Gustave A. Neubart, 1885-1910; Dr. Adolph Hansing, 1910-11; 
Fred A. Kern, 1911-14; Frederick Fischer, 1914-19; Carl J. 
Magin, 1919-22; J. W. Marsh, 1922-36; Edwin Peters, 1936-39; 
Don S. Foster, 1939-43; Rudolph Magin, 1943-51. 

We of the present generation should pause in sober reflection 
to pay respects to those responsible for maintaining an organiza- 
tion that has played such as important part in the cultural life 
of our city. We should pay tribute and do homage to men like 
Julius Liese, Gustav Neubart, John Marsh, Carl Magin, and 
Edwin Peters, whose inspiring leadership and untiring devotion 
as conductors made possible the splendid organization of the 
Philharmonic Society. 


The Liederkranz Society, organized in February 1873, was 
a choral and social group. In 1883 it bought the Heinrich 
Opera House for its permanent home and rechristening it the 
Liederkranz Hall, used it for all of its brilliant concerts until 
disposing of it to the American Legion, whose home it now is. 

The greatest of all events in the lives of the members of the 
various groups was the Saenger Fest. Once a year all musical 
groups combined and would compete in a festival of song. It 
was for years one of the highlights of the town. 

In 1878, the Thespian Club, an amateur dramatical organiza- 
tion of young men and women, was organized, sponsored by 
Mrs. Charles Thomas and Mr. Ernest Hilgard. Timber for 
its amateur productions was drawn from the social register of 
the town bv a man named Schrieber, and its performances 
became so outstanding that upon invitations they were presented 
in St. Louis. On the programs appeared such names as George 
K. Thomas, George Rogers, George Stanley, Fred Snyder, 
W. R. Merker, Lee Harrison, A. W. Stuart, Lena Abend, 
Gulla Scheel, Helen P. Abend, Mamie Boneau and Alice 

Our earliest singing society the Kronthal Liedertafel, was 
named after Kronthal, Germany, the former home of Brosius, in 
whose residence their first rehearsals were held. This house, later 
the home of Mrs. Frank Perrin, was built as a replica of a castle 
in Kronthal. As the society grew its rehearsals were held at 
various times in the old Belleville House, above the Savings 
Bank, and above the Jackson Street Engine House. Concerts 
were given four times a year and these were held either in the 
Cit\' Park Opera House or in the Liederkranz Hall. 

A small faction of Liederkranz members, breaking away 
from that society in February 1903, organized the Choral Sym- 
phony Society, which for a number of years contained some 
of the best vocal talent in the city. L. D. Turner, Sr., was its 
first president, and Ludwig Carl was its director. Participating 


in a choral contest at the St. Louis World's Fair in 1904, it 
made quite a showing, receiving a commemorative medal from 
the World's Fair Association, and remained active until about 

The Cecelia Chorus, an organization composed exclusively 
of women, was organized in 1911, gaining great popularity 
from the very first. It was organized by Sophia Rhein, who 
directed it in a talented musical way so that much of the 
success that was achieved by the organization was due to her 
energy, ability, and talent. "Something new and different" was 
Miss Rhein's motto in forming the organization, which in 
1914 had a membership of fifty. The charter members were: 
Mrs. P. K. Johnson, Mrs. George Brechnitz, Miss Josephine 
Baker, Mrs. Fred Fleischbein, Miss Lillian Fuess, Mrs. Charles 
Harrison, Mrs. Lee Harrison, Mrs. Charles Huggins, Mrs. 
Rogers Hyde, Mrs. George Hilgard, Mrs. Philip Knapp, Miss 
Virginia Krebs, Mrs. Ralph Leunig, Mrs. Harry Lederer, Mrs. 
Josephine Merck, Miss Loisel Merker, Mrs. Frank Rogers, 
Miss Kate Meng, Miss Georgia Reichert, Miss Margaret 
Thomas, Miss Edna Sikkema, Miss Mary Turner, Miss Maude 
Underwood, Miss Sophia Rhein, Mrs. Carl Weingaertner, Miss 
Augusta Wilderman, Mrs. Hugh Wilderman, Miss Jessie 
Wilderman, and Miss Posey Woelk. 

On August 24, 1906, the St. Clair County Historical Museum, 
which occupied a room in the basement of the Court House, 
was established. This museum contained all the old French 
records of Illinois dating back more than 200 years, and many 
other rare documents contributed by various citizens interested 
in early histor)^ These were moved to the State Historical 
Society in Springfield in 1948. 

The Belleville Daily Advocate has for some years concerned 
itself with spreading Christmas cheer among the needy through 
its annual Empty Stocking Fund. Ever since 1918, it has 
appealed at Christmas time for funds to be used in preparing 


baskets of food and gifts for the poor families of our city, 
especially for the children who otherwise might face the 
tragedy of truly "Empty Stockings" on Christmas Day. 

On March 24, 1920, the Parent-Teachers Association which 
has become a vital and active branch of the school system, was 
formed. Its first officers were Mr. C. A. Grossart, Wilhelmina 
Benignus, Walt Marsh and Arthur Niemeyer. 

Fraternal organizations have been part of the community 
since an early day. Among those in existence are the Masons, 
Elks, Moose, Odd Fellows, Eagles, Knights of Phytias, and 
Modem Woodmen. The Catholic fraternal orders include the 
Knights of Columbus, Holy Name, St. Vincent de Paul, and 
Daughters of Isabella. The Masons are represented by Royal 
and Selected Masters, Knight Templars, De Molay, Eastern 
Star, Job's Daughters and Rainbow. 

The first Masonic Lodge was organized on December 14, 
1843, as St. Clair Lodge No. 24 A. F. and A.M., with John 
C. Teel as its First Worshipful Master. On June 10, 1922, 
the chapter of De Molay was organized with thirty-three charter 
members. Calvin Mank was chosen to head the new order. 

On April 30, 1899 the Elks were organized with seventy-five 
charter members, and on November 17, 1910, the Elks Home 
was officially dedicated with District Grand Exalted Ruler 
Rich presiding at the ceremonies. 

Other civic organizations include the Rotary Club, Optimists, 
Lions, South Side Improvement Association, West Side Im- 
provement Association, Safety Council, and the Chamber of 
Commerce. Also of service have been the Women's Club, 
Business and Professional Women's Club, the League of Wom- 
en Voters, and the Junior Chamber of Commerce. 

Among the patriotic organizations are the George E. Hilgard 
Post of the American Legion with its women's auxiliary, the 
St. Clair County Chapter of the Red Cross, the Daughters of 
the American Revolution, the Hecker Woman's Relief Corps, 


the Memorial Day Association, and the Spanish American War 

The Hecker Post No. 433 Grand Army of the RepubHc 
was organized in Belleville on May 6, 1884, by veterans of 
the Civil War. It was named after one of them, the patriot and 
statesman Colonel Frederick Hecker, who had also been one 
of the leaders of the revolution in Germany in 1848. Today none 

The Hecker Women's Relief Corps was organized in 1892 
with a membership of forty women. Mrs. Elisa Kueffner was 
elected its first president. It devotes its activities to charity and 
patriotic work. One of its presidents, the late Carrie Thomas 
Alexander Bahrenburg, served as president to both the Illinois 
and the national body of the Relief Corps. 

The local chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolu- 
tion was organized on August 31, 1916, in the assembly room 
of the Public Library. Its membership is composed of lineal 
descendants of soldiers of the American Revolution, who have 
banded together to preserve the ideals propounded by their 
patriotic ancestors. It strives to perpetuate the memory of the 
heroic deeds of men and women whose devotion and sacrifices 
have made this nation possible. Its motto is: "Home and coun- 
try, the two essentials in our democracy." On September 13, 
1941, it celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary. Its regent then 
was Mrs. F. E. Schneidewind. Among the guests at that celebra- 
tion were Mrs. O. H. Christ, Danville, Illinois, state regent; 
Mrs. John Trigg of St. Louis, national parliamentarian; Miss 
Helen McMackin of Salem, Illinois, national chairman of 
manuals; and Mrs. Manford Cox of Robinson, Illinois, director 
of the sixth division. 

An auxiliary to the United Spanish War Veterans was 
organized in 1923 with Mrs. Mary Hubert as its first president. 
The wives, mothers, and sisters of these soldiers, working hard, 
have accomplished some worthwhile results. 


The Memorial Fountain located on the Public Square was 
built as a monument to Belleville soldiers participating in any 
previous wars. It was the solution to the question as to what 
kind of memorial to build, for there was much opposition to 
a statue representing war. The majority preferred something 
that would beautify the square instead of constandy reminding 
them of by-gone wars. 

The difficulties of building and financing a fountain were 
solved by public subscription. The labor unions volunteered 
to donate their services and without them the fountain could 
never have been built for its cost would have been prohibitive. 

On May 22, 1937, the digging of the pump chambers, and 
a room 16 by 24 was ready for the pouring of the concrete. 
This excavation proved very interesting for it uncovered four 
old cisterns in the center of the Public Square, that had been 
used bv our early fire departments. 

The fountain was designed by Herbert Schwind. Hoeffken 
Brothers donated their digger, and the outer rim was constructed 
under the direction of Calvin Johnson. Seventy-five loads of 
ground were donated for the landscaping, while the sod, which 
was given by Albert Seiber, was laid by Fred Bonhardt. Arthur 
Buesch donated and planted the shrubs. The ornamental stone 
that was used was donated by Ben F. Affleck, of Chicago, a 
former resident. 

Installation of pumps began September 25, 1937, two being 
put in, one of high pressure and the other of low. The high 
pressure pump forces the water through many pipes to form the 
various aquatic formations, having power enough to force the 
water fifty-five feet into the air. The low pressure pump forms 
the cascade over the lip of the fountain. The water falls into 
the surrounding circular pond draining back again to the pump 
to be circulated up and over the fountain. The mechanism is 
noiseless when in operation and is accessible from a man hole 
in the grass plot. 


The Memorial Fountain was dedicated on October 23, 1937, 
with Dr. Cameron Harmon as the speaker. It was officially 
lighted by Betty Jane Schwind, the daughter of its designer. 
It can be seen on Main street as far west as Fifth street, as far 
east as Walnut street, north to Lebanon Avenue, and south 
to McKinley. The Memorial Fountain was made possible only 
through the unselfish efforts of civic-minded individuals and 
organizations, and it stands today as one of the finest tributes 
to the spirit of our citizens. 

Belleville's Chamber of Commerce is an active one, and 
its program covers every phase of the city's life. At present 
there are 190 men serving on its various committees. It is divided 
into, and operates on, a departmental basis, the five divisions 
being industrial, civic, commercial, agriculture, and organization. 
At the present time its president is Wesley Bloomer, Walter 
E. Wagner is the secretary-manager. 

The first park used for outdoor recreation was Huff's Garden 
now the Knights of Pythias Park, 900 West Main street. It 
was long the center of west Belleville's gay life. 

In the southwest part of the city was Eimer's Hill, which in 
early days was also a favorite picnic ground. Today it has been 
wholly abandoned. 

Priester's Park, managed by Frank Priester, was built in 
1899 and soon became a most pretentious amusement center. 
It covered an area of 88 acres and included athletic fields, race 
courses, roller coaster, dance pavilions, a restaurant, and beer 
gardens. In 1906, it became a private institution and was called 
The Priester's Park Driving and Country Club. Today its 
buildings and grounds form a part of the huge campus of St. 
Henry's College. 

On May 28, 1922, the first public park to be owned by the 
city was dedicated and formally named Bellevue Park. On 
this occasion the principal speaker was Mr. John Gundlach 
who was one of the pioneers in the park and playground move- 


ment in St. Louis. Other speakers were Dr. J. K. Conroy and 
Mayor Joseph Anton. WilHam Twenhoefel, city plan commis- 
sioner, was master of ceremonies. The gift of this park site 
to the people of Belleville was made possible through the 
generosity of the Board of Trade. 

On September 18, 1923, ground was broken for the erection 
of the new $100,000 Turner Hall. 

On August 3, 1925, the South Side Park of Belleville con- 
sisting of six and one-healf acres of land was formally dedicated 
and opened for public use. 

All cities should have parks and playground areas. Long 
experience in many cities proves that they can be supported 
with little difficulty. There should be at least ten acres of 
park for each thousand of population. Of this, approximately 
one third of three acres per thousand, should be utilized for 
playground purposes. 


Belleville was incorporated as a village in 1819 and as a 
citv in 1850. It adopted the charter of the city of Springfield, 
Illinois, and Theodore J. Krafft was elected its first mayor. 
The government of the city was then conducted by a mavor 
and eight aldermen, two from each of the four wards. The 
other cit)' officials were a register, marshal, treasurer, attorney, 
assessor, collector, surveyor and engineer, chief of fire depart- 
ment, weigher and market master, street inspector, captain of 
night police, captain of day police, superintendent of work- 
house, sexton, and city scavenger. 

The most important street in this town of 5000 population 
was East iMain street, and was also the first street to be improved, 
for in 1850 it was given a cover of crushed rock to counteract 
the mud and dust. It was further improved when on June 10, 
1877, the citv council ordered it to be paved with cedar blocks 
to Walnut street. Remnants of this type of paving remained 


as late as 1930, when the last of it was removed on the street 
leading to the St. Clair Country Club. 

Street fairs, the predecessor of the homecomings, attained 
their popularity in the late nineties. They, too, had their queens, 
parades, and carnivals which were not only attended by the 
whole town but also by the surrounding country. 

At the time of the California gold rush a number of Belle- 
villeans, lured by the mirage of easy money and great riches, 
hit the trail for the Great West. Tradition has it that they were 
given good advice before they left, for they were warned that 
the road was long and dreary, that they would be without meat, 
flour, food, and water, and would find no grass in many places. 
They were jokingly advised to take a file with them, for if 
their trusty rifle should actually get a buffalo they would first 
have to file their teeth so they could eat it. 

They were also informed that if they got sick on the road 
they had better keep toddling along. If they didn't and should 
by any chance lie along the road an Indian would come along 
and they'd be minus a scalp, they were told. 

As a last bit of advice they were given the comforting 
assurance that should any of them perish on the way, a little 
hole three feet deep would be dug where they'd be buried and 
where that night the wolves would hold a council over their 
grave, prior to a digging-up party. 

How many hit the treacherous, heart-breaking trail to the 
Pacific is not recorded, but it is known that many came back 
sadly disappointed and poorer than they were before. Some 
came back to further disillusionment, for after an absence of 
ten or fifteen years, to their dismay, some found their mates 
happily married to others, after uncertain rumors had it that the 
first husband had been killed by the Indians. 

By 1854 Belleville had enlarged its area, increased its wealth, 
and more than doubled the amount of improvements to its 
streets. The manufacturers were expanding and increasing their 


trade. Most of the early settlers that came from the east brought 
with them large families. Those that came from Virginia and 
other southeastern states brought their slaves, and their right 
to keep them was at once questioned. 

At the same time run-away slaves were not tolerated. Any 
Negro who could not present the proper credentials of freedom 
to the county authorities was regarded by law as a run-away 
slave. He was arrested, held in the county jail, and the 
sheriff advertised his arrest. If the owner did not reclaim him 
within six weeks he was sold into slavery for a period of one 
year, at the end of which time legally, at least, he was entitled 
to his freedom unless the original owner appeared. 

Belleville had more run-away slaves than most communities, 
since it was located on the route between Virginia and Missouri, 
and the wealthy planters traveling between the two states always 
passed through the city. 

On November 11, 1841, the town's local paper carried the 
following run-away negro advertisement: "Taken up and com- 
mitted to jail on the third of November, 1841 in the county 
of St. Clair, State of Illinois, a Negro who calls himself Jordan 
and says he formerly had been ownied in Richmond County, 
Virginia, by Newman Flanagan but was sold at public auction 
and does not know his present owner. He is five feet nine, 
weight 175 and is about 28 years old. His owner must prove 
his property within six weeks or said Negro will be dealt with 
according to law." 

It was openly contended by many people that slave owners 
should move to Missouri, while those not having slaves should 
settle in the free state of Illinois, and that Negroes who remained 
in this state for ten days with the purpose of becoming a resident 
should be fined fiftv dollars. If they were unable to pay their 
services they should be sold at public auction. 

On April 7, 1857, a mulatto named Jackson Redman made 
the fatal mistake of leaving Pennsylvania, was arrested, tried, 


and convicted for the misdemeanor under the IlHnois law. 
On April 18, 1857, at one o'clock in the afternoon, his services 
were to be sold to any person who paid the said fine and costs. 
The appearance of this ad brought a storm of protest on the 
justice of the peace, who was only performing his duty in 
enforcing the law. 

On the day of the sale the great humanitarian Gustav Koerner, 
without much ado, paid the fifty dollar fine and immediately 
turned the Negro free. By court decision a Negro living here 
for a period of five years automatically became a free citizen. 
Many slave-owning families therefore left the state. 

One of the most tragic chapters of local history was that 
written by the cholera epidemic, which originated in St. Louis 
in the summer of 1849 and swept away nearly 300 people in 
a month's time. Medical men were unable to check it, and the 
dreaded disease continued to ravage the lives of the people. 
It wiped out entire families who were helpless against its 

To prevent the spread of the disease, the people were caution- 
ed to purify the air and keep the streets in a sanitary condition, 
which was done by sprinkling them generously with slaked 
lime. Lime was also abudandy spread on private premises, but 
better than this large fires of coal tar and sulphur were kept 
burning day and night, and yet everywhere people were dying. 

The hopeful housewife, fearing for the lives of her loved ones, 
listened and followed every new suggestion by the doctors, 
some of whom recommended the burning of coffee beans, 
boiling vinegar continuously, and pouring coal tar on the top 
of the stove to smother out all impurities of the air. The 
epidemic raged on, however, and approximately two-thirds of 
all cases were fatal. Not only was this true here but also in 
St. Louis, East St. Louis, Mascoutah, Collinsville, and Lebanon. 

The disease spared neither young, middle-aged nor old. It had 
no regard for the hale and hearty man, the tender and hand- 


some youth, nor the kind and gentle woman. 

Since then medical science has discovered that cholera is a 
bacterial disease and that the germ is spread through drinking 
water, foods, and by the common house-fly. Like today's in- 
fluenza, the cholera epidemic of old struck and and then de- 
parted after having run its fatal course. 

The homes in the earlier days were very sturdy. Sunbaked 
bricks, hand-hewn white oak beams, and plaster of clay and 
straw were the basic materials for the houses of over a century 
ago. Heavy weather boarding was apparendy the vogue in the 
construction of the frame houses. Inner walls were of hand 
molded bricks made of native clay and baked in the sun. 
Wood, now used only in high-grade furniture could be found 
in many parts of the home, for often they had walnut window 
sills and wild cherry panels. 

The cooking stove was an innovation, for the earlier homes 
had fireplaces supplied with ketde hooks, which gave the family 
hearth its real meaning. But with the coming of the stove the 
city in time became the stove center of the world. 

Commercial soap in pioneer days was an unknown commo- 
dity. At intervals, usually dictated by the supply on hand, a 
time was set aside for the making of soap. This was cooked in 
a large iron ketde which generally stood on a tripod in the 
rear yard. 

The bathtub, too, was rare, largely because of the difficulty 
in heating the home. It was introduced in the early seventies 
and was nothing more than a box-like affair lined with zinc. 
Since there was no running water it was filled by carrying the 
water that had been heated on a stove beforehand. 

It was at this time that a city ordinance was passed regulating 
the speed of driving catde or horses through the streets. The 
law read that they must not be driven faster than four miles 
an hour nor must they be driven with dogs, and anyone guilty 
of violating this law would be fined from $3.00 to $25.00. 


It must have been difficult to measure their speed, for speed- 
ometers were then unknown. 

Another ordinance regulated the cost of digging a grave 
according its depth. One of three feet or less depth cost 75 
cents, one four feet, $1.00, while that of more than four feet, 

After the Mexican War, 1846-48, returning soldiers wore 
beards, the most popular of which were the English side whisk- 
ers. This new style was not adopted at once by the local people, 
but in 1854, when the barbers agreed that the price of a shave 
should be 10 cents instead of the prevailing charge of 5 cents, 
there was loud and long wailing by the masculine element. 
To make their protests more effective, they organized a beard 
growers society and not only adopted, but also published this 
resolution: Resolved: "That the lather used by the aforemention- 
ed barbers, being of a quality which is calculated to advance 
the growth of the beard, we emphatically enter our protest 
against the agreement referred to unless the barbers also agree 
to use nothing but the common castile for lather." 

The development of agriculture in this area was constant. 
The German immigrants brought from their native land a 
knowledge of the intensive methods of farming. Although the 
soil was rich, the German farmer unfailingly reclaimed all 
wasteland and also improved methods of crop rotations. Their 
thrift and love of the beautiful led to the well improved farms 
of today. Wheat at the time averaged 20 to 28 bushels per acre, 
and in 1851 it sold for 65 cents a bushel. However, in 1867, 
it had risen to $3.70 a bushel and this community produced 
about six hundred thousand bushels a year. 

Although the second panic in 1857 hit many communities 
very hard, business here remained good. The streets remained 
lively with wagons from the country, bringing produce for cash 
and goods. Eever^'where one could still hear the sound of the 
hammer and saw, indicating that work was plentiful. Every- 


where one heard the query, "Do you know of a house for rent?" 
All were happy and prosperous. 

The reaper had now been invented and the old, back-breaking 
cradle and sickle were on the way out. The threshing separator 
separted the wheat grain from the straw at the time of threshing 
and the farmer could now raise much more wheat. It was then 
that the old threshing circuits, long famous for their jolting 
wagons, the pitching to the machine, the stream of straw 
and chaff from the blower, and the bountiful dinners came into 
existence. But even these good old days have gone with the 
wind, for most farmers now own their own combines. 

Coffee, as we know it today, was a luxury that could be 
enjoyed only by the rich during the Civil War days, and the 
poor housewife besides her many other tasks had to roast the 
coffee substitutes such as barley, wheat, sweet potatoes, corn 
and even, at times, acorns. 

By 1862 Belleville had not only grown in size but had 
become more beautiful. A Chicago newspaper referred to it 
as a beautiful little village. Much had been done to make it 
a safe place in which to live, and in 1867 the city council 
passed an ordinance making it a misdemeanor to cast or throw 
stones or any other missiles upon or at any building, tree, or 
public or private property, or at any person. Anyone doing 
so was subject to a fine not exceeding $5.00. 

That same city also regarded kite flying as dangerous, and 
to curb it the following ordinance was passed: "Whoever shall, 
on any highway, or thoroughfare of this city, fly a kite, or use 
any sport or exercise likely to scare horses, injure passengers, 
or embarass the passengers of vehicles, shall be deemed guilty 
of a misdemeanor and subject to a fine." 

By 1870 Belleville had a total of forty miles of street, 16 
miles of which had already been paved and could be travelled 
safely at all times of the year, and twenty miles of sidewalk 
had been laid. 


During an era of prosperity Lady Nicotine soothes the hearts 
of men a httle faster or a Httle more than at any other time. 
The white man learned the art of using tobacco from the 
Indians, Sir Walter Raleigh being the first prominent white 
man to smoke the "vile weed." Local men could now go to 
the cigar store and buy half Spanish cigars, snuff, and smoking 
or chewing tobacco. Gentlemen who preferred chewing to 
smoking, or inhaling of snuff were kept well supplied, for 
chewing then was much more popular than it is today, and the 
spitters were also much more accurate. 

Before the invention of cigar making machines, the one-man 
cigar factories dotted all the cities. Here the cigar-maker would, 
with nimble fingers, ply his chosen trade. Whenever a customer 
bought a box of these hand-made cigars (then called segars) 
the proprietor would present him with an extra one. The cigars 
were graded into first, second and third quality, and the 
particular quality one smoked usually determined his economic 
rather than his social rank— a sort of caste system still carried 
on today in the dime, two-for-a-quarter, and quarter brands. 

Pipe smoking followed later in popularity, with the result 
that many brands of pipes appeared on the market. The old 
Germans always brought with them from the fatherland their 
traditional Meerschaum pipe. To accidentaly break a friend's 
Meerschaum was a serious offense, second only to that of 
stealing his wife. 

Snuff with all of its snuffing was definitely on its way 
out, as apparently chewing is today. No longer does one see 
snuff-stained shirts nor do as many brass cuspidors line the bar. 
With the passing of these, the cigarette has been ushered in, 
as a result of World War I, and more likely, to the effect of 
high powered advertising. The introduction of the cigarette 
at first brought a deluge of condemnation, and cigar or pipe 
smoking fathers would not permit a cigarette smoking youngster 
to court his daughters. 


By 1870 a very extensive system of agricultural manufacturing 
was being done in this city. $300,000 worth of these implements 
were sold annually, with two iron and brass factories kept busy 
supplying the wants of these factories. 

Although the Richland Creek is small, its history is a color- 
ful one. In all probability it got its name from the fact that 
it flows through rich agricultural lands. As a stream it has 
never behaved too well, for at times it is a rampaging litde 
river, while at other times it is almost entirely dry. It has 
marked the dividing line between East and West Belleville and 
as such has been the scene of many a battle between East and 
West Belleville youths in the early days. East Belleville always 
regarded itself superior in all respects in those days and the 
expression "He's a West End tough" had much significance 

Richland Creek in the early days was not only a dividing 
line but was also the local Rhine river, for many were the 
young people who kept the "watch on the Rhine." It was, 
however, never fortified, but some of the battles were perhaps 
just as violent, even though the casualties amounted only to 
black eyes and bloody noses. The boys on opposite sides carried 
on eternal vigilance, challenging one another to cross the line. 
Under such watchful eyes, it must have required courage and 
a strong right arm at times, to seek the hand of a girl on the 
other side. Happily those animosities are things of a by-gone 

It was on its banks just south of the city that Kickapoos 
usually camped after their raiding parties on the American 
Bottoms. Here on several occasions the terrified white captives 
pondered their fate as they lay bound in the red man's camp. 

Partly because of its rampages and partly because it was 
blamed for chills and fever, Richland Creek lost its good reputa- 
tion. Some thought it caused the cholera epidemic in 1849, 
and perhaps rightly so, for the stream after every overflow 


left pools of Stagnant water that smelled obnoxiously, and were 
breeding grounds for mosquitoes and disease germs. 

Its overflows have come with regularity. The first was 
recorded in 1848 when the creek became so large that it 
proceeded to sweep in its path all existing bridges, down to the 
Kaskaskia River. 

On the night of March 4, 1897, a very heavy rain storm 
sent the creek out its banks so hurriedly that some of the 
flood refugees had to be rescued from their homes by boats. 
So heavy were the rains that the dam at Lake Christine broke 
and let a perfect Niagara of water into the already swollen 
creek, adding to the great damage. Gaping holes occurred 
into which the water swirled, even rushing into the coal 
mines. The Oakhill Mine and all slope mines were thus flooded. 

On August 19, 1915, occurred another damaging flood. For 
the first time since the West Main street concrete bridge had 
been built, water swirled over it for several hours. Hundreds 
of rowboats rescued people from second-story windows. The 
power plant was flooded, cutting off all power, and damage 
in the city was estimated at $100,000. 

The town of West Belleville was laid out on a hill on the 
west bank of Richland Creek in the year 1852, the land being 
part of a two hundred acre farm owned by Theodore Erasmus 
Hilgard. In 1861, there were six hundred inhabitants, and in 
that year it offically incorporated itself and adopted the name 
of West Belleville. The little village had its own institutions, 
for in 1855 a brick school was built with one large room for 
classes and two smaller ones for the teacher and his family. It 
also had its own market house on the West End Square at 
Eleventh street, its own Western Brewery and its own distillery. 
By 1874, its population had increased to 2500 inhabitants, with 
many nationalities represented, but with Germans predomi- 

As time went on, there arose a mutual desire to merge the 


two independent communities into one, for it was believed 
much could be gained by each in such a merger. So, in an 
election held to vote on the issue on April 18, 1882, the people 
of both towns approved the merger, and three days later, April 
21, 1882, West Belleville officially became a part of Belleville. 

On Saturday night, April 26, 1882, the ratification celebration 
was held at Huff's Garden, now the Knights of Pythias Park, 
where events of importance for West Belleville always took 
place. A large parade, headed by a blaring band, marched to 
the Public Square where the procession was joined by the 
citizens of East Belleville, and together they marcehd back 
to the park. The night was rainy, the streets were muddy, but 
the crowd was large. Here, promises were exchanged to forget 
all past animosities and to work together in harmony so that 
the new city might prosper. 

Belleville had now begun its move to the west. It was 
because of the mining industry that its westward expansion 
continued, for a string of mining settlements had sprung up be- 
tween the city and the bluffs. 

The stories of the weather today are much less interesting 
than those in the past. Facts and predictions today are based 
upon scientific measurements which are undebatable and which 
take the personal touch from all weather accounts. Early people 
had leeway. The best judges of the weather were the older 
residents, who had lived through more of it and therefore re- 
membered the days that were colder, the rains that were heavier, 
and the summers that were hotter. Blizzards, the oldest inha- 
bitants could recall, appeared with the regularity of a clock. 
One storv relates how, during the winter of 1885, the tracks 
of the Cairo Short Line, now the Illinois Central were so 
blocked bv snow that the cars were entirely buried beneath 
the drifts. The passengers suffered extremelv from cold and 
hunger because there was no settlement or house nearby from 
which to obtain food or fuel. A gentlemen in one of the trains 


had a couple of dogs with him which were killed and eaten by 
the starving party. 

Another tale tells that during the cold winter of 1856, the 
Mississippi River was frozen solid for 64 days. In fact, the 
ice was so thick that people rode horseback across it. Then there 
was the blizzard of all blizzards in 1890 when eighteen to 
twenty inches of snow fell, and all roads and railroads were 

Medical science today assures us that aged and rheumatic 
people are not as reliable in measuring the temperature as is 
a thermometer. 

The hailstorm that surpassed them all rattled down on Belle- 
ville on April 16, 1918. So severe was it that the roofs that 
had been rain-proof became like a sieve, and cars and buggytops 
were peppered with holes. Thousands of window panes were 

Most residents today remember the tornado of March 15, 
1938, that blew in from the southwest at 5 o'clock that after- 
noon. It demolished the Union Grade School, ruined Suppiger's 
cannery, crossed Main street at the Southern crossing, flattened 
out homes in a four block area, took a total of twelve lives 
and did $500,000 worth of property damage. Many in the east 
end of town were unaware of its happening until four hours 

By 1884, Belleville was a thriving substantial community of 
16,000 people. It had more than fifty miles of improved streets 
most of them illuminated by electric lights while some were 
still lit by gas furnished by an extensive gas works with a capa- 
city to meet all needs both public and private. 

It was evident at this time that Belleville was fast becoming 
industrialized. The city had acquired good government. There 
was law and order. The schools compared favorably with any. 
Churches administered to the spiritual hfe. The city was on its 
way up. 


In War 

Scott Field 

y ' It s early as 1917 it was becoming more and more ap- 
parent that future wars would no longer be fought only on 
and below the earth's surface, but also in the air, and that 
more men were going to be needed to fly the ever-increasing 
number of planes. With this in mind the War Department in 
June, 1917, purchased a field a mile square near Belleville, 
which was to be used as a training center for aviators. $10,000- 
000 was appropriated by Congress for its construction, and two 
thousand laborers and carpenters were immediately put to work. 

Actual building was begun in June, 1917, and work was 
pushed so feverishly that it was completed in September of 
the same year, for the United States was really in need of 
airplane pilots and fields on which to train them. The area 
was small and the buildings looked like hastily constructed 
crates. Seeing the present base, one would hardly realize that 
it could ever have been so small. 

Although it may be the opinion of a few of the old-timers 
that the installation was originally called Avia Field, such is 
not the case, as Avia was merely the name of the railroad station 
of the Southern Railroad located a short distance away. Follow- 
ing the usual procedure of naming aviation fields in honor 
of American fliers who had distinguished themselves, this one 
was named Scott Field later changed to Scott Air Force Base, 
in honor of Cpl. Frank S. Scott, who met death in an exper- 

230 IN WAR 

imental flight in the first army aviation school at College Park, 
Maryland, in 1912. 

In August, 1917, while construction work still going on and 
with its 75 buildings not yet completed, three hundred soldiers 
arrived for duty. In September four airplanes were received, 
the first of the 72 planes ordered for Scott Field. Soon the 
actual training of airplane pilots began. On August 27, 1917, 
Major George E. A. Reinberg, Signal Corps, became the field's 
first commanding officer. 

Students began arriving daily, and by the end of September 
more than one thousand men were stationed there. With their 
arrival from all parts of the country, came quarantine, one of 
the bugaboos of camp life. Measles developed, which spoiled 
the first Christmas vacation, many having hoped to go home, 
while others had received invitations from the kindhearted Belle- 
villians. Luckily, a few days before the holidays expired, the 
ban was lifted, but with two more squadrons arriving from 
Texas, the epidemic broke out again, putting the camp once 
more under quarantine. 

In January, 1918, Colonel J. C. Fechet arrived, replacing 
Major Reinberg. Later in that same year Major Henry Abbey, 
Jr., assumed command. 

After the Armistice, November 18, 1918, a great deal of 
concern was felt as to what would happen to this field. Since 
it was no longer needed as a training center for the Army's 
aviation cadets, the personnel was cut down until only 65 

In October, 1919, Major J. H. Houghton replaced Major 
Abbey. During the next year there was very little activity at 
the post. In 1920, the government decided that the field should 
be converted into the nation's headquarters for the training of 
airship pilots and ballon observers, thus discontinuing all heavier 
than air training. The United States government then, on 
March 19, purchased outright the land on which Scott Field 

I N WAR 232 

was located. The purchase price for the 640 acres was $119,- 
285, a little over $170 per acre. 

In 1921 the War Department approved a plan for an erection 
of a $1,200,000 hangar, which was to be 220 feet wide, 180 
feet high and 910 feet long, with landing facilities, 1,500 by 
150 feet, fronting the hangar. This field was now converted 
into the home of the dirigible, observation balloon, round free 
balloons, and the sausage balloon, all of which were regarded 
as supremely important at the time. 

Construction of this hangar was approved by the Secretary 
of War in 1921. Major Frank M. Kennedy, its designer, arrived 
now to assume command of the post in October, succeeding 
Colonel C. G. Hall. He supervised the entire construction of 
the hangar, which was completed that year at a cost of $1,- 
360,000. It dominated the countryside for miles around and 
was a greater attraction to visitors that were dirigibles themselves. 
Its floor had space enough for 100,000 men to stand in military 
formation; and ever)' visitor that saw it would speculate on how 
much the hangar would hold in corn, wheat, or hay, while 
others would compare it with the Washington Monument or 
the Empire State Building. The two doors at its entrance 
weighed almost 2,000,000 pounds each. It took electrically 
driven motors seven and one-half minutes to open them. 

With completion of the hangar. Major Kennedy received 
orders to proceed to Germany to supervise the construction of 
a Zeppelin for the United States government. He was suc- 
ceeded by Major John H. Paegelow. 

Other building projects in the $5,000,000 lighter than air 
base were as follows: 175 foot high mooring mast, an extensive 
helium laboratory where the gas was purified after having been 
used in the dirigibles, and an engineering department near 
the hangar. 

On October 3, 1923, the world's largest lighter-than-air craft, 
the United States Shenendoah landed at Scott Field. On January 

232 IN WAR 

28, 1926, the R.S.-l, largest army dirigible in the world, was 
completed at the field and given a successful tr)'Out. The peak 
of construction was attained when the T C-14 and the T CTl, 
non-rigid air ships, were built. The T C-14 was 237 feet long, 
57 feet in diameter and had a 365,000 cubic feet gas capacity. 
These dirigibles resembled silver cigars floating in the air, 
and they soon became familiar figures to everyone. 

The blimp was a non-rigid bag having no inner frame work 
and was therefore nicknamed "the rubber cow" or "fat sausage." 
The operator in the control car, swung by cables beneath the 
bag, controlled its direction and speed of travel. 

On August 8, 1925, St. Clair County received $35,292 from 
the United States government for the construction of the new 
hard road to Scott Field. It was the first time in the history of 
the state that federal aid had been secured by a county without 
any effort on the part of the state. 

During the years 1928-29 it seemed that Scott Field was 
fast becoming ITncle Sam's step-child. There was even a move- 
ment on foot then, that it be abandoned entirely, as need for 
it no longer seemed to exist. Civic groups both in Belleville and 
the surrounding territory began to realize what this would 
mean, and at once formed a National Defense Committee to 
fight for its retainment. Congressman John T. Cochran of 
Missouri, on the floor of the House of Representatives, fought 
for its continuance. In June, 1930, Congress finally authorized 
$1,206,500 for additional construction work at the field. Heavier 
than air operations were then resumed, and Scott Field soon 
became the largest and most completely equipped government 
inland airship base and ballon and airship school. 

The year 1933 marked the termination of active duty for 
Colonel Paegelow, and in August, Lieut. Colonel Frank M. 
Kennedy returned to take over command. 

In 1935, Congressman Edwin M. Schaefer of Illinois pro- 

IN WAR 233 

posed a bill to provide $4,338,000 for further improvement of 
Scott Field which congress approved. 

In February, 1937, Colonel Kennedy was ordered to report 
to Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, and was succeeded by Colonel 
Arthur J. Fischer, who had been transferred here from Maxwell 
Field, Montgomery, Alabama. 

On May 14, 1937, the lighter-than-air crafts were discon- 
tinued at the field, for with the exception of perhaps coastal 
patrol, their day had passed. It was again rumored that the 
field would be abandoned, but on May 14, 1937 the War 
Department changed Scott Field from a lighter-than-air to a 
heavier-than air field. The baby blimps and dirigibles were 
deflated and the Ninth Air Squadron was assigned to another 
field. The day of the huge cigar-shaped silver painted dirigibles 
was over as far as this area was concerned. A total of forty 
carloads of cylinders, each cylinder weighing 130 pounds and 
capable of holding two hundred cubic feet of gas was shipped 
to Duncan Field, San Antonio, Texas, where they were serviced 
and sent to the helium plant at Amarillo, Texas. 

In 1938, Scott Field was rebuilt in its entirety. The big 
helium plant, the dirigible hangar, the mooring mast, the old 
wooden barracks, and administration buildings were torn down. 
The mile square field was enlarged and criss-crossed by concrete 
runways for landing fields, which completed were 250 feet 
wide and about two miles long. The field hangar, which 
originally cost $1,360,000, was sold to the wreckers for $20,051. 

On June 2, 1938, the War Department designated Scott Field 
as the new home of the General Headquarters of the Air Forces 
of the entire United States Army. An additional twelve hundred 
acres of land was bought adjoining the present field to the east 
and the north. Because of its ideal geographic location and 
strategic regions of defense, this field now was destined to 
become the center of all army air activities. 

The tearing down of the old buildings began on July 18, 

234 IN WAR 

1938, and soon the $7,500,000 improvement program got under 
way. New hangars, shops, barracks, officers quarters, general 
headquarters building, quarters for the various mechanical 
equipment, in all 73 major buildings, were soon under construc- 

On June 1, 1939, Scott Field was designated as the Scott 
Field branch of the Army Air Corps Technical Schools, 
and the basic section of the school, which was located at 
Chanute Field, Rantoul, Illinois, was transferred to Scott. This 
involved the movement of all civilian instructors, 29 enlisted 
instructors, and five officers to Scott Field. In August, 1941 
an allotment of $1,710,150 was made for the construction of 
160 new buildings at the field. This was in line with the plan 
that Scott Field was to house eight thousand men. 

New buildings on the post were constructed with funds from 
the Public Works Administration. An average of two thousand 
men worked at the field constantly in connection with this 
project, the outstanding feature of which was the new mess 
hall that was to serve six thousand men. This building is the 
shape of a capital "H" with the kitchen in the cross bar. There 
are four dining halls providing eight lines for cafeteria style 
serving. The center of the building is used for storage and 

To house the more than forty-five hundred students with the 
Radio Communications School, a new cantonment area was 
constructed on the souteast section of the post. The students 
began moving into this miniature city in December, 1940, and 
it has since been called the Student Center. Colonel Walcott 
P. Hayes, the commanding officer was succeeded on July 
2, 1940, by Colonel Fischer. He in turn was succeeded by 
Colonel J. P. Temple on February 11, 1944, and he, on March 
15, 1944, by Brig. General Shepler W. Fitzgerald. 

The last vestige of the lighter-than-air era at Scott Field 
disappeared on October 30, 1941, with the shipment of seven 

IN WAR 235 

carloads of helium containers. 

The Air Corps Institute at Scott Field established under the 
direction of Co. Frank H. Pritchard in December, 1940, has 
the only correspondence school of its kind in the United States. 
With applications for the 33 available subjects coming in from 
fifty army posts all over the nation, as well as from distant 
possessions, the enrollment has far exceeded ten thousand. 

Scott Air Force Base is today a complete city in itself, con- 
taining all the necessities of life and the comforts of modern 
living. It has been enlarged three times its original size. It 
contains restaurants, motion picture theaters, recreation grounds, 
libraries, service clubs, gymnasiums, community halls, swim- 
ming pools, and a day room where the men may play table 
games, listen to the radio, read, or play the piano. 

The field is also equipped with a prison, an efficient police 
force, a new hospital, a modern and completely equipped fire 
station, a postal system, a bank, and an extensive sewerage dis- 
posal system emptying into a three-mile ditch to Silver Creek. 

Approximately twenty-five thousand air corps radio techni- 
cians were being trained every year by the Army Corps Radio 
Operators and Technician School. Students entered at the rate 
of eight hundred every two weeks and received a 22 week 
radio course in operation and line maintenance of air craft 
radio equipment, and in the installation, operation and field 
maintenance of tactical ground radio equipment. Scott Field 
had a personnel of around twenty-five thousand including of- 
ficers, permanent men, and students. From it were directed 
all operations of the United States Army Air Corps. It will 
always be the focal point for the wings of the United States 
Air Force. 


Whenever this country has gone to war, men of Belleville 
have not been reluctant to take up arms and do their part to 

236 IN WAR 

preserve the ideals and the rights of free men as guaranteed 
by the government. 

George Rogers Clark was the first to open this area to the 
American pioneer. Some of his courageous little band later 
settled here, the most noted of these being the Reverend Hosea 
Rigg of Pennsylvania, who enlisted when only 19. He fought 
in the batde of White Plains, Germantown and Brandywine, 
setding in this area a litde later and spending the next forty 
years of his hfe here. He died at his home two miles east of 
Belleville in 1841. 

In 1809, when British agents were stirring up the Indians 
in the West, it was the Rangers, their patrols, and blockhouses 
that quelled the raids and forced the Red Man to make peace. 
A line of blockhouse forts sixty miles long was built from the 
Missouri to the Kaskaskia Rivers. This line was pratolled by 
22 forts, one of them was near Lebanon, another south of New 
Athens, and another in Mascoutah township. Four companies 
of Rangers kept this line intact and warded off all Indian 

In the War of 1812, many of these Rangers joined the Army, 
which later defeated the British at New Orleans. Of them the 
most famous were William Whiteside, James B. Moore, Jacob 
Short, and Samuel Whiteside. Governor John Reynolds, then 
a young man, saw service at this time. 

During the Black Hawk War of 1831 to 1832, named after 
Chief Black Hawk living in the Rock River County of Illinois, 
Governor Reynolds issued the call for volunteers to force these 
Indians out of the state. Many men responded, and some of them 
fought with the future president, Abraham Lincoln, who was 
chosen captain of his company. Among local men who volun- 
teered were Adam W. Snyder and John Thomas, the latter 
rising to the rank of colonel in this campaign. The result of 
this war was that the Indians were forced out. 

IN WAR 237 

When the call for volunteers came in the Mexican War, 
(1846-48), local citizens were eager and ready to fight, and 
several companies of volunteers were formed. The first one 
known as the Second lUinois Regiment, was organized in May, 
1846, by William H. Bissell then a young local attorney. Bissell 
later became colonel of this regiment, winning much acclaim 
for his service. It was his good work that helped attain the 
governor's seat for him. His company did more fighting than 
any other, suffering a loss of sixty-five killed, eighty wounded, 
and ten missing. 

When Bissell's regiment returned at the end of the war, 
it was given a reception of welcome, at which Bissell praised 
the officers and men of the Second Illinois Regiment, saying 
they had fought bravely and well. Bissell dwelt at length on 
their high sense of personal honor and the high moral sense 
instilled in them by their fathers and mothers, to whom he 
accredited all honor. 

Another company of volunteers was organized by Nathaniel 
Niles, vv'ho later edited the Daily Advocate. He was also captain 
of a company of Texas Infantry which fought in the battle of 
Monterey and Buena Vista. 

When Lincoln issued his call for volunteers in April, 1861, 
many answered the call and enlisted. A training camp, named 
Camp Koerner, was established at the old Fair Grounds where 
a local company of volunteers was prepared for war. Many of 
these young men rose from private to colonel and some were 
with Sherman in his march to the sea. Others fought in the 
Batde of Gettysburg. The Ninth Illinois Infantry, in which 
Belleville was well represented, took part in 1 10 battles. 

Of particular note is the fact that Germans, only a few years 
removed from their native land, fought gallantly for the land 
of their adoption. Most noted of these were Colonel Friederich 
Hecker, and Gustavus Koerner. 

On May 8, 1861, Ulysses S. Grant, then only a captain, 

238 IN WAR 

paid a visit to Belleville. He was on an inspection tour and 
talked to those in charge of the camp, including Captain Koer- 
ner, Henry Goedeking, and Henry Kircher. When he arrived, 
Hecker's boys were drilling and made a good showing. Grant 
met the officers in charge and later had a soldier dinner with 

In the War with Spain, April 19, 1898, to December 12, 
1898, Belleville's chief contribution was its Company D of 
the Fourth Regiment of Illinois Infantry, which was sent to 

Belleville is justly proud of its contributions to the Navy. 
Captain Joseph B. Coghlan, who commanded the warship 
Raleigh in the Batde of Manila, spent his boyhood here. Lt. 
Commander William Braunersreuther, who lead the party of 
Marines which took possession of the island of Guam, was 
also a Belleville resident. He too took part in the Batde of 
Manila Bay. Among the Navy's admirals in the Spanish-Amer- 
ican War were Hugo Osterhaus and Kossuth Niles. Major 
General Wesley Merritt, the son of an editor of the Daily 
Advocate, led an American force which stormed the city of 
Manila after Dewey had destroyed the fleet and silenced the 
forts. He served as the first military governor of the Phillippine 
Islands. Admiral Louis Kempff, commander of the warship 
Monterey, became governor general of the Island of Guam in 
recognition of his services. 

On June 28, 1914, World War I broke in Europe. When 
the United States entered it on April 6, 1917, Belleville boys 
again played a heroic part in this great conflict as they served 
on all of its far-flung battle fronts. On June 16, 1917, more 
than fourteen thousand men from St. Clair County registered 
for the selective draft. The boys, from 21 to 31, who registered 
from here numbered 2,024 which was nearly ten per cent of 
the 1910 population. Forty-two names are on the first World 
War's honor roll of war dead. Heading this list is Major General 

IN WAR 239 

George E. Hilgard after whom the American Legion Post was 

The mihtary and naval heroes from this city have been many. 
To single out any one as being greatest, would be an injustice 
to the rest. Every war leaves not only its dead, but also the 
organizations that spring up to perpetuate its memory. There 
are still such organizations as the Daughters of the Amer- 
ican Revolution, Spanish American War Veterans, American 
Legion, and Veterans of Foreign Wars, the latter an offshot 
of the preceding one. Any World War veteran may belong 
to it. The local chapter was organized on January 14, 1934, 
by August Franke, John Pollock and Frank Yerk with 65 
charter members. Its membership today has increased to three 
hunderd, and its past commanders have been August Franke, 
Philip Wagner, Dr. William Kneedler, Charles Ehinger, Arthur 
Nowotny, Frank Yerk, and Harry Morton. 

The Veterans of Foreign Wars sponsor a colorful drum and 
bugle corps, which was organized by Dr. Kneedler while he was 
commander of the organization in 1936. It won first place 
during 1938 and 1939 at the department encampment of 
Veteran of Foreign Wars. 

In 1940, when World War II was looming on the horizon, 
one city and two county draft boards were created to arrange 
for the induction of draftees into the army. They classified all 
registrants and took care of the administrative duties pertaining 
to their respective areas. The members of Belleville's draft board 
were Dr. G. C. Otrich, chairman; Wilbur E. Krebs, secretary; 
and Robert L. Kern, Albert B. Baldus, and Joseph B. Herman. 
Frank C. Wuller was the chief clerk; Mildred E. Moehrl, as- 
sistant clerk; and Jeanett L. Schiermeier, typist. 

The Burke-Wadsworth Selective Service Act required all 
men and boys between the ages of 21 and 35 to register for 
army service on October 16, 1940. Thirteen per cent of the 
city's population, or a total of 3353, registered. Again on July 

240 IN WAR 

1, 1941, boys who had attained the age of 21 since October 
16, 1940, were also required to register for army service. The 
draftees had to report to the local board headquarters from where 
they were sent to the induction center, which at first was East 
St. Louis, then Peoria, and later Chicago. 

On February 16, 1942, men between 20 to 45 registered, 
while on April 27, 1942 those from 21 to 65 were required 
to do so. If called, those from 44 to 65 were not to be used 
for the army, but to fill gaps in the skilled labor field. When 
the war ended on September 2, 1945, 107 of Belleville's boys 
had been killed in the service of their country. 

On July 11, 1942, Rogers D. Jones, president of the Town- 
ship High Board of Education, and Republican nominee for 
the board of review, entered the United States Navy as a 
lieutenant. He was elected president of Township High School 
Board in 1941 and re-elected in 1942, having served, at the time 
of his resignation, about one and one-half terms. He was con- 
sidered the youngest president of a board in the state of Illinois 
since he was 31 at the time of his election. 

In time of war, service organizations always attempt to make 
the life of the soldier as pleasant as possible. Early in World 
War II, so as not to have many small and conflicting groups, 
a United Service Organization was established by public sub- 
scription, although its building was erected by the War Depart- 
ment. Here games, reading rooms, telephones, radios, phono- 
graphs, arts and crafts, dancing, and pressing rooms were pro- 
vided for the enlisted man. 

Belleville asked for a $93,000 two-story brick building, but 
instead, the government built a rambling one-story frame struc- 
ture, which was furnished with leather chairs, couches, desks, 
and tables. Many townspeople contributed their radios, phono- 
graphs, books, and magazines. The service club was also supplied 
with a library, three billiard tables, and a lunch counter where 

IN WAR 241 

sandwiches, soup, jelly, pie, cake, candy, and soft drinks are 
served. It is located at 710 East Main street. 

Another service center was maintained by the Catholics at 
500 East Main street, and one by the Lutherans at 409 East 
Main street. 


Our Contributions 

Natural Resources 


llinois, a prairie state, ranks fourth in the United States in 
population, third in wealth, and twenty-third in area. It is a 
mineral giant with oil for blood and coal for its backbone. 
In 1941, it outranked 42 states in wealth of mineral production. 
Its total mineral production in 1940 was $275,000,000, of which 
oil amounted to $165,000,000 and coal to $78,000,000 Others 
such as clay, shale, flourspar, silica, limestone, and Fuller's 
earth made up the balance. It ranks second in the production 
of coal, third in the production of oil, and contains more un- 
mined coal than any other state. St. Clair County ranks fifth in 
coal production, being surpassed only by Franklin, Williamson, 
Sangamon, and Macoupin counties. 

In the immediate community an unlimited amount of high 
grade Mississippi limestone is found just west and southwest 
of the city. Bricks have long been made from the clay which 
is found beneath the top soil in this area. Building sand is 
obtainable in unlimited quantities from the Mississippi River. 

One of the less heroic, but no less important feats of LaSalle, 
the great French explorer of 1679, was his discovery of Belle- 
ville coal. He was the first white man to use it for fuel, one 
of the men of his party remarking how black his hands and face 
were from the coal he had carried on to the fire during a cold 


night on their trip on the Mississippi River. 

The out-cropping coal along the bluffs is so close to St., 
Louis that its commercial value soon became established. It was 
mined first in open trenches and then by tunneling into the 
bluff along the seams of coal. It was not yet suspected that this 
coal could also be found under the city. These miners sold 
their coal in St. Louis and to neighboring Illinois cities. The 
blacksmiths of Belleville were the first to use local coal in 
their shops and found it so much better that they never again 
used wood in their forges. 

The first Belleville coal mine was opened by Willam Fowler 
in 1825 just south of the city in the bluffs where Richland 
Creek meets the highlands. It was then believed that coal could 
be found anywhere and all one had to do was to sink a shaft 
into it. 

In 1940 there were a total of sixty mines operating within 
a few miles of the city, with a combined output of six million 
tons a year. Most of the coal is mined from the No. 6 seam 
and is commonly called Belleville Coal. This seam averages 
6 feet, nine inches in thickness, and lies at a depth of 150 feet. 

The area has an unlimited supply of bituminous coal, and 
all of it can readily be converted into coke with a tar yield 
of ten gallons a ton. It is the very soul and life of this community 
and is destined to keep this city one of the largest cities in South- 
ern Illinois. It is estimated that no more than one-fiftieth of this 
coal has been tapped despite nearly a century of extensive 
mining operations. 

In analyzing the No. 6 seam, the following contents were 
found: moisture 9:30, volatile material 37.2; fixed carbon, 
40:65; ash, 12:85. The sulphur contents is 4.58 and B. T. U. 
rating is 12,300. 

Belleville coal is being used less today than it was in the 
past. Two reasons for this seem to be the introduction of gas 
and oil from Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas, and St. Louis 


Smoke Abatement Ordinance. More coal will again be used 
when this coal can be processed to meet the requirements of 
the St. Louis ordinance; when both cities become more reci- 
procally trade minded, and when some legislation is passed 
that would make gas and oil equal in cost in heat units to that 
of coal. Until that is done these mines will no doubt continue 
to close until only a few remain to furnish local needs. By 
1950, the number of mines still operating had decreased to five. 


The St. Clair Gazette which made its appearance on De- 
cember 25, 1838, was the first successful newspaper to be 
published in Belleville. Since then it has changed its name many 
times and is today the Belleville Daily Advocate, the oldest 
established newspaper in St. Clair County and the first in the 
state of Illinois to issue a daily edition. When it was first printed 
as a weekly in the building on the corner of Main and High 
streets it was considered the leading Democratic paper in South- 
ern Illinois. In 1854, when the Free Soil Party was organized, 
it switched to an anti-slavery paper, and in 1856, became the 
leading Republican newspaper in this district. 

Soon after its establishement, T. C. Clark retired from the 
printing business and from 1839 to 1841 James L. Boyd carried 
on the work alone. Then he sold out to Philip S. Fouke, and 
later the paper was taken over by Robert K. Fleming and his 
five sons. Edward, one of the sons, managed it until 1849 
when he caught the gold fever and left for California leaving 
his brother, William in charge. Jehu Baker, considered to be 
the ablest editor and the leading statesman in the Middle West, 
joined the paper at this time as the editor. He later became 
congressman and United States minister to Venezuela. 

The Advocate was next under the editorship of James W. 
Merritt and Judge Nathanial Niles, who where succeeded by 
James S. Coulter. The latter changed its name to Daily Advo- 


cate. In 1851 Nathaniel Niles became its editor, while the ex- 
goldseeker, Edward Fleming, reurned because of his health. 

In 1856, Edward Schiller joined Judge Niles, but remained 
with him only a year. In 1857, Collins Van Cleve and T. C. 
Weeden assumed the editorial chair for three years, until E. 
J. Montague became the new proprietor in 1860. In 1861, 
Alexander G. Dawes became the assistant editor, and the pro- 
perty went back to Van Cleve. Dawes remained but a year 
and a half when F. M. Hawes took over. In 1863, G. F. Kim- 
ball occupied that position, and he remained with the paper for 
nine years, until it was bought by J. H. Thomas. Kimball 
returned as its editor, succeeded later by John Woods. 

The paper in 1898 changed its name to its present one, 
namely The Belleville Daily Advocate. It was then joindy owned 
by James A. Willoughby and John E. Thomas, who disposed 
of it on December 23, 1913 to Fred E. Evans, Preston K. 
Johnson, and Edward Julleis. Johnson and Julleis soon with- 
drew leaving Evans in charge until his death in 1930. It is 
today owned by the Belleville Advocate Printing Company 
headed by Cyril Arnold its president; Miss Anna L. Stolle, 
secretary-treasurer and general manager; Leslie Crow, news 
editor; Cyril Arnold, business manager; and Al. R. Schmidt, 
city editor. Its plant is located at South High and East Wash- 
ington streets, where it moved in 1924. It is a thoroughly modern 
and up-to-date newspaper plant. 

The first issue of the Belleville Daily News Democrat ap- 
peared on January 16, 1858, but prior to then, in 1857, its 
prospectus had been presented to the community. 

Its founder, Rev. Boyakin, was born in Corinth, Mississippi, 
in 1807 and came to Belleville in 1840. During the Civil War 
he served as a chaplain, and was known as "the fighting parson." 
His father had saved Andrew Jackson's life during a skirmish 
with the Indians at Horse Shoe Bend, and out of gratitude for 
this heroic deed, General Jackson defrayed the expenses of 


sending the son, William F. Boyakin, through college, where 
he prepared for the ministry. 

He was an aggressive person and with the financial help of 
the wealthy J. S. D. (Don) Morrison, the Weekly Democrat 
was launched. Morrison donated the original press, which was 
of the Washington Hand type brought from Philadelphia. 

In 1859, Bovakin, feeling the urge to "go West," sold the 
paper to E. R. Stuart and W. H. Shoupe. These two gendemen 
held it until 1860 when it was acquired by G. A. Harvey, who 
conducted it with no small amount of success until August, 
1863, when it was purchased by William Denlinger and Alex- 
ander B. Russell, both practical printers from Pittsburgh, Penn- 
sylvania. Besides being a printer, Russell was a good newspaper- 
man and served as the editor, soon becoming quite a prominent 
figure in the community. The price of the weekly was at this 
time raised from $1.50 per year to $2.00. In 1863, the plant 
moved from its North High street address to the building then 
known as the Kaysing Building, where it occupied the third 

In the summer of 1880, Russell's health failed, and Judge 
William J. Underwood, then one of the leaders of the De- 
mocrats in the community, succeeded him as editor. It 
was his ambition to convert the Weekly Democrat into a daily 
paper, but failing in being able to do so, he resigned after 
serving as editor for slightlv more than a year. Instead he 
organized the Daily News earlv in the spring of 1882. Articles 
of incorporation were filed in the offices of the secretary' of 
state for the Daily News Publishing Co., with William J. 
Underwood, Curt Heinfelden, R. A. Halbert, F. F. Metschan, 
and Robert Rogers as incorporators. The capital stock was $5,- 
000. Judge Underwood was managing editor of the publication 
that commenced about the first of April. 

That Belleville really needed an English daily was evident 
by the success of the new publication in the community. In 


fact, it was not long before the Weekly Democrat began making 
overtures of wanting to come along. An amicable agreement 
was soon reached, and in 1883 the Daily News and The Week- 
ly Democrat were consolidated under the name of the Belle- 
ville Daily News-Democrat, the caption which the paper has 
since borne. It was the only English daily in the city. 

Having controlling stock. Judge Underwood not only be- 
came its president but contributed the editorials of the day. 
William G. Russell served as its business manager, while Ben 
Boneau was city editor. The paper now became definitely 
Democratic. Besides the daily paper, a weekly edition was also 
put out, and this enjoyed a large rural circulation. Judge Under- 
wood, who was the first president of the Southern Illinois 
Press Association, had established quite a reputation as an 
editorial writer. 

At the time of the merger the paper was published in the 
building direcdy back of the First National Bank on North 
Illinois street, then known as the Abend Building. Today that 
is the site of the Christmann Building. The business office, 
the editorial and the composing rooms occupied the second floor, 
while the job room was on the third. About twelve men were 
regularly employed by the company. 

The paper continued under the management of Judge Un- 
derwood until December 15, 1891. When his health began 
to decline, he sold the paper to Fred J. Kern and F. W. Kraft 
of the East St. Louis Gazette. Mr. Kern had charge of the 
editorial and news departments, while Mr. Kraft became the 
business manager. This partnership continued until January 
1895, when Mr. Kern purchased the interests of Mr. Kraft 
and became the sole owner of the paper. 

In 1898 a disastrous fire inflicted much damage to the plant 
of the News-Democrat. The damages ran to approximately 
$18,000. Valuable files of the old copies were also destroyed. 
Moving from the Abend Building, the paper was then located 


in the northwest comer of the Pubhc Square. Mr. Kern then 
bought the corner property at South Ilhnois and East Lincoln 
streets, where the modern plant is located. Today Robert L. 
and Richard P. Kern, his sons, are its publishers. 

In the past, Belleville supported more newspapers than it 
does today. In the decade beginning with 1880, it had, besides 
its two dailies, four weeklies and one Sunday paper. The 
Zeitung Und Stern, a German publication, issued both a daily 
and a weekly paper. This was the leading German paper in 
the state, outside of Chicago, and it was supposed to have had 
the largest circulation. It was published by the firm of Sem- 
melroth, Heinfelden, and Metschan. The Belleville Post was 
established as the organ of the German Republicans in 1884. 
Later the Zeitung and the Post merged under the name of 
the Post and Zeitung, and for years it was an outstanding Ger- 
man daily. Sometime later, the Morning Record, a new daily 
morning paper made its appearance. It was Belleville's only 
morning paper. 

The Intelligencer Blatt was a monthly paper published by 
William Homeier as an advertising medium for his real estate 
business and to gratify his taste for the literary. 

The Belleville Tageblatt Und Arbeiter Zeitung, published 
by Hanz Schwarz, Sr., was a German weekly relished by many 
for its spicy articles often directed at some public official. 

There was also the Treu Bund, and a Sunday paper published 
and edited by Fred W. Kraft. 


When Belleville's first city council was elected in 1850, it 
was agreed that its meetings would be held on the first Monday 
of each month in the city hall, which then stood east of the 
Market House, on the present site of a parking lot and filling 

Some early city officers met certain specified needs, but 


today their offices no longer exist. There was a time when 
a coil oil inspector was very essential because all illumination 
was done with kerosene. Its use constituted a fire hazard, and 
to reduce this it could not be sold in the city unless it had 
been passed upon by such an inspector who used the ignition 
test. Only oil that ignited or exploded at a temperature of less 
than 150 degrees was considered unsafe. He also made sure 
that the traditional coal oil can, with a potato stuck in the 
spout as a cork, would not blow up easily. 

The salaries of the city officials were much lower than they 
are today. The city was naturally smaller, and prices in general 
were much lower. The mayor's salary in 1844 was fixed at 
$200 a year, and the aldermen each received $35 for their serv- 
ices. The city clerk's salary was set at $150, and the city 
treasurer received $75 a year. The city marshall was granted 
$100 a year, plus a cut of all the fines and fees. The all im- 
portant master of the city market received a salary of $50 a year. 

We may laugh at some of the city offices of the early days, 
but they, too, would find much reason to laugh at some of 
our ways in these modern days. For instance, a dog catcher 
was added to the city's payroll as late as May 21, 1913. In that 
year too, a city ordinace was passed making it unlawful for any 
fowls to run at large vdthin the city limits. 

In Belleville's one-hundred years of existence it has had 
41 mayors. One of them, Louis Barthel, died in office, in 1889. 
Fred J. Kern held office longer than any other, serving five 
terms, from 1903 to 1913. Peter Wilding was elected five 
times in 1859, 1860, 1871, 1875, and 1879, resigning in 1860. 

Herman G. Weber also was elected five times, in 1873, 1874, 
1883, 1885, and 1891. He resigned in 1885 and in 1891. Upon 
receiving the appointment as United States marshal in 1885, 
he handed in his resignation as mayor on July 6, contributing 
his two months salary to help defray the expenses of a special 
election which was held on July 28, 1885. In this election 



Michael Reis was elected mayor, as he was again in the election 
of 1887. Following is a list of mayors and the years they were 


Theo. J. Kraft 1883 

Ed. Abend 1885 

John W. Pulliam 1889 

Joseph B. Underwood 1889 

William C. Davis 1890 

J. W. Hughes 1891 

Edward Abend 1893 

Peter Wilding 1893 

F. H. Pieper 1895 

Henrv' Goedeking 1897 

Charles Palme 1899 

Herman Burkhardt 1901 

Edward Abend 1903 

Joseph Kirkpatrick 1913 

Frederick Ropiquet 1919 

Henry Abend 1921 

Peter' Wilding 1929 

Herman G. Weber 1931 

Peter Wilding 1935 

Henry Kircher 1941 

Peter Wilding 1945 

B. J. West, Jr., 1949 

Herman G. Weber 
Michael Reis 
Louis Barthel 
William White 
Jefferson Rainey 
Herman G. Weber 
John Carson 
Fred C. Knoebel 
Frederick Sunkel 
Edward F. Winkler 
Henry T. Fredericks 
John B. Hay 
Fred J. Kern 
R. E. Duvall 
P. K. Johnson 
Joseph J. Anton 
Charles Stegmeyer 
George A. Brechnitz 
George Remnsnider 
Roland W. Jung 
Ernst W. Tiemann, Sr., 
Harold V. Calhoun 

The city officials in 1951 were as follows: 

Harold V. Calhoun, mayor; Carl Siegel, city clerk; John 
Courar, city treasurer; Casper Arndt and Philip Huling, custo- 
dians city hall; Mrs. Jack Gundlach, secretary to mayor. 

Members of the city council are as follows: 

George Glakemeier, Calvin Isselhardt, Carl Lenz, John (Red) 
McDonald, Charles Nichols, Ben Sauer, John Schloemann, 
Edward Schmitding, Henry Schwarz, Irvin Stein, Ava Teel, 
Ernest Tiemann, Roy Torloting, and George Uhl. 



St. Clair County, throughout its history, has at various times 
entertained distinguished guests. It was in April, 1769, that 
Pontiac, famous Indian chief, visited Cahokia and was murdered 
on the streets of that village. 

During his American tour in 1824, Lafayette, at the invitation 
of Governor Coles, spent one busy day in Kaskaskia, where 
he was the guest of honor at a reception in the home of 
Colonel Edgar and at a banquet at Colonel Sweet's tavern. 
In the evening, he attended a gay ball in the imposing residence 
of William Morrison, departing at midnight, by steam boat, 
for Nashville, Tennessee. 

In October, 1876, Robert G. Ingersoll, a guest of the local 
Republican Club, addressed the largest Belleville audience 
that had ever been assembled up to that time, in the City Park 

Wilham Cody, better known as Buffalo Bill, was in the city 
on several occasions. At various times Belleville audiences have 
listened attentively to the campaign speeches of such renowned 
Americans as Abraham Lincoln, Richard M. Johnson, William 
Jennings Br)'an, William H. Taft, Thomas R. Marshall, 
General Leonard W. Wood, Wendell Willkie, and Henry A. 
Wallace, all who expounded the issues of the day. 

The presidential election of 1840 was memorable for having 
been the most extravagant of all previous campaigns. At that 
time the Whigs were well organized. The backwoods Hfe of 
their candidate, William H. Harrison and his victory in the 
battle of Tippecanoe were typified in parades that stressed 
log cabins, canoes, hard cider, coon-skin caps, brass bands, and 
fifes and drums. Such a demonstration was staged in Belleville 
on April 11, 1840. After the parade a political meeting, attended 
by about three hundred people, was held at which most of the 
speakers were from St. Louis. The first of them denounced 
as traitors all who would not support their candidate. The second 


speaker to mount the rostrum was Abraham Lincoln. The 
Belleville Advocate commenting on the meeting, while giving 
two columns to it, was not very complimentary. Its introductory 
remarks were as follows: 

"As we anticipated, a more perfect farce has rarely been 
exhibited in this or any county, than the Whig celebration on 
Saturday last . . . 

"We expected from the array of orators, that the people 
would have been informed something of the principles, of the 
measures that were to be carried out by General Harrison if 
elected; in this all were, like ourselves, disappointed . . . 

"Mr. Lincoln followed next, a federal candidate for elector. 
His speech was weak, and feeble. 'How different,' 
remarked many of the Whigs, 'to what we expected.' Poor 
Lincoln! he should have rested his fame upon his printed speech, 
going the rounds in the federal papers, as purported to have 
been delivered by him at Springfield. He predicated his whole 
speech upon the sale of a one-eyed horse for twenty-seven 
dollars, that happened to be sold by a constable during the 
day. To what slight accidents are we frequently indebted for 
our great things! How very fortunate for the Whigs, that Mr. 
Lincoln saw the sale of the one-eyed horse that day! He was 
then enabled to prove that Mr. Van Buren caused it, together 
with all the other ills of life that us poor mortals 'are heir to'." 

Late in the summer of 1839, Belleville was honored by a 
visit from the vice-president of the United States, the Honorable 
Richard M. Johnson, whom tradition credits with having shot 
Tecumseh, and was the only vice-president to be elected by 
the United States senate. He was making a tour of the states, 
feeling out the Democratic convention in 1840. He was a guest 
at the Neuhoff House, then a newly erected, large hotel. Here 
he held a meeting in the morning, which was attended by men 
in great numbers, regardless of party affiliation. In the evening 
a brilliant ball was held, which was attended by the elite of 


the town and the surrounding country. 

Although Belleville has never been entirely flattered by its 
mention in the "American Notes" by Charles Dickens, it does 
feel a bit of pride in having had him as a guest as he and his 
party passed through here in April, 1842 on their way to the 
Looking Glass Prairie, near Lebanon. His stay here lasted but 
an hour or two while he took dinner. Court was in session at 
the time of his arrival, and "the path, nearly knee deep in mud 
and slime, which led to the forest," that he sacarstically refers 
to, was the Public Square. Of course there was no paving and 
there may have been some mud and trees, and the buildings 
surrounding the Square were early pioneer buildings of the time. 
Instead of the present court house, the old, square, brick one 
stood a little northeast of it, to which members of the bar hitched 
their horses, but they were not temporary "hitching racks" as 
Dickens described them. 

"The old, shambling low-roofed outhouse, half cowshed and 
half kitchen" in which he says he was entertained, was the 
Mansion House, the best and largest brick house in the town, 
with the exception of the court house and the mill. It was 
anything but what he described it, actually being roomy and 
well furnished, and having been recently erected at great cost 
by the Reverend Thomas Harrison, whose daughter and hus- 
band, Mr. and Mrs. Wm. J. McBride, were its proprietors. 

The local paper, reviewing his visit, refuted his story that 
Belleville was a "land of mud and brush," of "frogs and pigs." 
It even inferred he was "decidely drunk" when he stated that 
the sun set on the opposite side of Looking Glass Prairie which, 
according to his story, would have been in the northeast. 

Abraham Lincoln paid his second visit to Belleville in the 
campaign of 1856, when he came at the invitation of William 
Bissell, who was then running for the governorship of the state. 
He was a guest in the home of John Scheel on South Illinois 


Street, where the Junior High School now stands. He met all 
of the leading local Republicans and in the evening spoke from 
a platform erected on the eastern end of the Market Square, 
on the site of a filling station today. 

There was no heckling or disappointment by the audience 
at this rally, for Lincoln displayed the greatest ability, and 
it was admitted that his was the speech of the day. He cap- 
tivated the Germans uith his "God bless the Dutch," as he 
lauded them for their definite stand against slaver\% saying that 
thev were more enthusiastic for the cause of freedom than any 
of the other nationalities. 

Although none of the Lincoln-Douglas debates were held 
in Belleville, Douglas was a guest here in 1858. He made a 
pompous entrv accompanied by his beautiful wife, who had 
been the belle of Washington society. The town was crowded 
for the oration, for more than five hundred people came 
from St. Louis to see and to hear him, but the local people, 
on the whole, showed little enthusiasm. 

In the late '60's Mark Twain visited Belleville. He was 
writing a histor\^ of J. A. Slade, the Robin Hood of the 
Rocky Mountains, whose brother, James P. Slade, was a teacher 
in the Belleville schools and was able to supply the information 
sought by Mark Twain. 

On March 13, 1900, Eugene V. Debs, the Socialist nominee 
for president, delivered a speech here on libert)\ 


The Dr. A. W. Wagner residence at 313 South High street 

has been at one time or another the home of Lvman Trumbull, 
Uniter States senator from Illinois, and Theodore Krafft, first 
mayor of Belleville. 

The site of Hotel Belleville marks the location of one of 
Belleville's first log houses which was constructed bv a Mr. 
Kerr in 1855. Later a Mr. Knoebel erected a fine brick hotel 


there, which in 1844 was razed to make way for the original 
Belleville House, which remained in use until 1930 when 
the present hotel was built. 

The Thomas House stood at the northwest corner of High 
and Main streets where it was built in 1854, when Belleville 
had a population of eight thousand, at a cost of $20,000. Its 
proprietor specialized in vacation trade. It was a rather pre- 
tentious building, having rooms that were larger than those 
usually found in hotels, thereby affording better accommoda- 
tions for those who spent their summer away from St. Louis. 

Other early rooming and boarding places were the California 
House, located on the west side of Charles street and South 
Lincoln; the City Hotel on the southwest comer of West Main 
and South Third streets; the Farmer's Home on the north side 
of Main between Church and Charles streets; the Franklin 
House on the south side of Main near Charles street; the Illinois 
House on the south side of Main between High and Jackson 
streets; and the Prudo Hotel located on the southeast corner 
of Illinois and Washington streets. Besides these there was the 
Railroad House; the Hinckley House, which is now the 
present Lincoln Hotel; the Green Tree Hotel; the Hanover 
House and the Napoleon House. Although classified as hotels, 
none of these, with the exception of the Belleville House, 
the Thomas House, and the Hinckley House, were actually 
that, but rather rooming and boarding houses. With few ex- 
ceptions they had their wagon-yards where farmers would tie 
up their horses and teams while in town. Hotel Belleville today 
is Belleville's leading hotel, with a total of 125 rooms. The 
Lincoln Hotel has 28. 

It is undeniably true that no city in Illinois has a more 
bewildering combination of the old and the new in architecture 
than ours. Up-to-date bungalows and dwellings over a 
hundred years old can be found side by side. The use of brick 
in the construction of the early homes was due to the fact that 


the city abounded in brick manufacturing plants, instead of 
saw mills, making it, not only the best, but the cheapest construc- 
tion material available. 

On January 17, 1844, a movement was started to buy some 
land for a county home for the poor. Forty acres northwest 
of Belleville were bought from Henry L. Million for $450. 
The first building erected here was constructed by George 
Eckert and Simon Eimer at a cost of $850, and was opened 
as a poor house on December 5, 1844. John Wright and his 
wife, its first superintendent and matron, received a salary of 
$150 a year. 

The City Park and Theater, after its contruction in 1859, 
was for many years one of the city's leading places of amuse- 
ment. It was located at the northwest corner of West A and 
North Second streets, and at one time was the site of the 
Heberer Brewery. The City Park Garden, patterned after the 
European beer gardens, was for many years the gathering place 
of Belleville's old German families. It was a place of dignity 
and refinement, and had much of the flavor of "Old Vienna," 
expressing so typically all that is meant in that German word 
"Gemuetlichkeit." The theater was the scene of many gay 
balls where the youth of that day whirled in the waltzes and 
polkas— the selfsame folks who, today, are the grandparents 
of our modern jitterbugs. 

In 1884 the theater was remodeled, having then a seating 
capacity of one thousand. Later it became known as the Opera 
House. Shordy after 1900 it was destroyed by fire and had 
to be abandoned. Later it was replaced by a light wooden 
structure and called the Garden Theater. Anheuser-Busch 
Company of St. Louis had bought it in 1895, and at that time 
it catered to stock companies. After a few successful seasons this 
too, finally failed and the place became the Budweiser Garden 
and was used only as a public dancing place. 

On the east half of this block stood the magnificient home 


of the distinguished citizen and stateman, Adam W. Snyder. 
It was built in the 1830's and remained the homestead of 
three generations of his descendants, when it was purchased 
by Dr. Edward M. Irwin, who later became Republican con- 
gressman from this district. He, in turn, sold it to the federal 
government, which erected in its stead the present Post Office 

In 1910 George P. Stolberg established Belleville's first sum- 
mer resort. He had bought the deep valley just west of his 
home, built a dam across the lower part of it and had, as a 
result, a fifteen acre lake that was as much as 6 feet deep in 
many places. 

In June 1902, Christian L. Ebsen, who was at that time the 
physical culture instructor for the Turner Society, purchased 
the lake known as Knispel's Lake in the Star Brewery Park. 
It was one of the most popular resorts for swimming and outings 
for many years. Later he disposed of it to the Turner Society, 
which made extensive improvements in making the pool a 
modern one and in improving the grounds for picnic purposes. 
In February, 1944, it was sold to Mr. E. J. Somers of the 
Somers Manufacturing Company. 

Westhaven Swimming Pool was built by Arthur Buesch. 
It is located on South Illinois street, just outside of Belleville 
and next to Westhaven golf course. 

St. Clair County's first county fair was inaugurated on 
October 18 and 19, 1854, and from then on it was held yearly 
until the early part of the 1920's. A modern version of it was 
revived in 1939, and it has been an annual event since. It was 
originally organized by the farmers and merchants, who called 
themselves the St. Clair County Agricultural Society. The first 
fair was held on the Mascoutah Plank road, south of the stone 
bridge three-fourths mile south of the Court House. Later a 
tract of land was bought south of Belleville in the Richland 
Creek Bottom, east of the present South Illinois street. This 


was given the name of the Belleville Fairgrounds. It was 
splendidly equipped with all the necessary exhibit buildings, 
an amphitheatre and a fine race track. Well-kept flower beds 
were laid out. This attractive spot was also the early place for the 
annual school picnic, an event which was unsurpassed by any 
other in Belleville. 

Fair days to the early citizens were gala ones. For many 
weeks farmers and their wives prepared and planned on entries 
that would certainly bring them glory. The Fair was among 
the best in the state and ten to twenty thousand people attended 
every year. It was a meeting place for friends and relatives who 
rarely saw each other more than once a year. 

The Fair proved so successful that it became necessary to 
run it an entire week. Thursday was the big day, and as many 
as seven thousand tickets were sold. People came as far as forty 
miles by train and horse-drawn vehicles. When the roads were 
"good" the dust was six inches deep, and when it rained the 
mud was twice as deep. One of the outstanding events held 
on Thursday was "The Ladies Driving and Riding Contest." 
In those days women would not ride astride as they do now, 
but used a sidesaddle with but one stirrup. Their riding habit 
consisted of short jacket, a long draped skirt, and a light hat, 
giving them a picturesque appearance. 

An annual event of recent years is the Homecoming, sponsor- 
ed each fall by the Junior Chamber of Commerce. At times it 
has been held at the Athletic Field, located at South Illinois 
street and Cleveland avenue. For the last few years it was held 
on the parking lot between North Illinois and High streets. 
One of the most successful of these was supervised by Waldo 
Tisch, who was the general manager of the committee in 1940. 

In pioneer days people took their politics seriously, and 
Belleville was no exception, for its citizens entered into all of 
the campaigns with great enthusiasm. Many spectacular parades 
were held. Streets were decorated with flags, and business places 


were illuminated, adding color to the occasion. The Republicans 
and Democrats vied with one another in their ambition to put 
on the biggest show. 

One such noted event was the huge demonstration staged 
by the Republican party on Saturday evening, October 18, 
1856. The number taking part in that torch light parade in- 
cluding those at the speakers stand, was estimated at six thous- 
and. Lebanon was represented with three hundred, Mascoutah 
with three hundred, among other cities that sent their delega- 
tions, each carrying a banner emblazoned with different slogans. 
One of them read, "We earn the bread we eat, and we eat 
the bread we earn." There were eight hundred torches carried 
in the parade, thirty ornamental lanterns on poles; several bands 
furnished the music and many banners were waved. Seated on 
the platform with Abraham Lincoln were Lyman Trumbull, 
William H. Bissell, candidate for governor, and Gustave Koer- 
ner, speakers on the occasion. 

On May 23, 1879 a Women's Christian Temperance Union 
was organized here by Francis Willard, its national leader. 
Twenty members attended the first meeting, and all signed 
the charter. It was disbanded in 1881, reorganized on March 
16, 1882, and still retains a small membership here. 

Whereas fatal accidents today receive only passing interest, 
such was not the case in that of Belleville's first traffic tragedy 
on June 5, 1911. It occurred when Carl Forst was instantly 
killed and S. F. McKenney, a sixty-year-old contractor, was 
seriously injured. McKenney 's car was travelling west on Main 
street near the Belt Railroad when the machine was struck by 
a fast westbound suburban street car. 

On March 10, 1914, the hundredth anniversary of the selec- 
tion of Belleville as the county seat was duly celebrated. The 
program began at 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon with an in- 
vocation by the Right Rev. Henry Althoff, after which Gover- 
nor Edward F. Dunne delivered an address, calling attention 


to the great men who had Hved in this county. Following this, 
a celebration was held at the Elks Club, at which a bronze 
tablet which had been placed in the northeast corner of the 
building marking the spot where the first building in Belleville 
had been erected, was unveiled. 

Belleville's population growth has been a uniform one. Ac- 
cording to United States census statistics it has been as follows: 
1850, 2,941; 1860, 7,239; 1870, 8,146; 1880, 10,683; 1890, 
13,361; 1900, 17,484; 1910, 21,132; 1920, 24,835; 1930, 28,- 
425; 1940, 28,405; and 1950, 32,700. 

Of its present population, 93^2 per cent of its people are 
of native white birth, 6 percent are foreign born and one-half 
of one per cent are negro. It has 7,630 families, living in 6,833 
dwellings, of which 4,576 or 67 per cent are privately owned. Its 
population is a cross section of many nationalities, but those 
of German descent gready outnumber all others. 

Democratic institutions, besides giving us political and reli- 
gious freedom afford every man an equal chance to get along 
in the world. They have welded us together in an incredibly 
short time, while still allowing the individual his national dif- 
ferences in nonessentials. Nothing impresses the foreigner visit- 
ing our country more than do our fine schools and universities 
and the rapidity with which immigrants emerge from the melt- 
ing pot as real Americans. 

Belleville now represents the result of 145 years of growth. 
It has never been a boom town, but has reached its population 
and size through a steady, unaltering advance, which has given 
it stability. 

As far as numerical strength of family names is concerned, 
the Mueller family leads them all. The 1941 edition of Polk's 
City Directory lists 102 persons by that name. Those next in 
order were: 100 Millers; 97 Schmidts; 65 Smiths; 59 Johnsons; 
37 Browns; 33 Jonesses; and 32 Brauns. 

Belleville's altitude is from 420 to 630 feet above sea level. 


while that of East St. Louis is but 415 feet. The average tem- 
perature is 56.3 degrees fahrenheit. The seasonal range is 
48.4 degrees, from a Januar)^ mean of 31.9 to a July mean of 
89.3 degrees. Thus five months are cool, three are warm and 
four are hot. 

The growing season extends from April 4 to October 27, 
amounting to about 190 days. The mean annual rainfall is 
39.7 inches, while the average humidity is 70. The mean annual 
sunshine is 62 per cent, although four months have more than 
70 per cent. Prevailing winds are from the south. This is an 
average, established by the measurements taken by the govern- 
ment over a period of 85 years, from 1837-1922. 


Looking Ahead 

What Makes a Good City 


1 11 community is a group of people living together in a 
given locality, and bound together by common interests and 
common law. A community as a whole will make an effort to 
be a model one, so that it will be attractive to others, and its 
citizens will desire to live in no other place. 

Ever)' community has features which prove to be an asset 
or a liability. If it is located on a river, it has a natural means 
of transportation, and thriving trade is likely to develop. Lacking 
that, it behooves it to provide some other means of transporta- 
tion, such as highways, and railroads, to and from some large 
commercial center. This always pays great dividends. 

The first step toward making a good city is to study the 
causes which have made the best cities as good as they are. 
Every citv has its individual peculiarities. No two are identical. 
The more familiar one is with different cities, the greater a 
variation is revealed. Clothes, care, entertainment, and interests 
mav seem similar, but a deeper study of them reveals that these 
similarities are only skin deep. Some cities are very negligent 
in their provisions for health, comfort, education, recreation, 
and other features of good living and well-being. This is partly 
due to lack of resources, and partly to the inactivity of its 
citizens to realize what a city can and should be. Its inhabitants 
fail to compare their city with more progressive ones and 


are unaware of what others have accomphshed. 

On the other hand, there are cities which have nearly attained 
economic perfection, though many of their residents are ignorant 
of their good fortune. 

One of the first lessons that citizens should learn is that 
it is not only the prevention and the cure of disease, but the 
preservation of health that is the goal of modern health agencies. 
To preserve health they must learn to cooperate with all the 
agencies teaching modern hygiene and sanitation. 

Some facts relative to the average American city are summed 
up as follows: 60 per cent of all 16 and 17 year old boys and 
girls are in school; 23 per cent of the homes use gas; 24 per cent 
use electricity; 12 per cent have telephones and radios, and the 
infant death rate for one year is below 63 per thousand. 

Cities differ greatly in qualities which are vitally important 
for human living. The chances that a baby will die within a 
year after its birth are greater in some cities than in others. 
This is partly due to ignorant and careless parents. It is also 
due to standards of living which are high or low according to 
the community's management of its health and sanitation prob- 
lems. In some cities the infant death rate is five times as great 
as in others. In some the deaths, per thousand population from 
typhoid, are over twenty times as great as in others. 

Standards for health are measured by the general death rate. 
The better cities are those in which the people have a better 
chance of living. In 1929, the total national bill for medical 
care amounted to $3,656,000,000 or about four per cent of the 
national income, a per capita expense of $30 for every man, 
woman, and child in the country. The government contends 
that there should be 142 doctors per 100,000 population, which 
should give us forty-five. There should be 179 dentists to 
every 100,000 population, which according to Belleville's popu- 
lation would amount to fifty-five. 

Educational standards are measured by the per capita public 


expenditure for public schools as a whole, for teachers and their 
salaries, for text book supplies, for libraries. It is measured 
also by the percentage of people 16 to twenty years old attend- 
ing school. A city ranks high educationally when its citizens 
are given more dollars' worth of educational opportunity and 
when its youth can remain in school longer. To rank high in 
recreation a city must consider two things: one, the per capita 
public expense for recreation; and two, the per capita cost of 
acreage. Where human problems, the housing program, wages 
and working conditions, educational and health facilities, are 
constantly watched and corrected to meet new and progressive 
social and economic conditions, a better city will be the result. 
Human needs are the first requisite of any well governed city. 

Some cities, hoping to improve themselves, have gone into 
various forms of business enterprises, operating transit systems, 
electric utilities, gas plants, and even housing projects. In 1938, 
four-fifths of all cities of more than five thousand population 
owned some form of public utility. Seventy-two per cent owned 
their own water works; 15.8 per cent owned their own light 
plants; 40.7 per cent had sewage disposal plants and 22.5 per 
cent owned and operated a city airport. 

Contributing factors towards community welfare are reflected 
in the lowered rates of mortality from social diseases, homicide, 
and automobile accidents. It is reflected also in the value of 
a city's property, its schools, libraries, parks and recreational 
facilities. It is good to live where there are only a minimum 
of violent deaths, where, through wisdom and honesty of good 
administration, liberal provisions have been made for educa- 
tional, recreational, and health programs, without burdening 
taxpayers with a heavy debt. 

As a rule, suburban residential cities are considered preferable, 
for here homes are located away from the noise and grime of 
traffic, factories, or railroads. They usually have comfortable 
homes, large enough to provide comfort for every member of 


the family, and they are equipped with modern plumbing, 
electric lights, gas or electric stoves, central heating systems and 
all the other conveniences of labor-saving devices. When, in 
congested districts, homes lack the bare essentials for decent liv- 
ing, tenements and slums result. Here ten to fifteen people live 
in two or three small, unsanitary, dark, dingy rooms. In some 
cities one-fifth, or more, of the total population lives in miserable 
hovels totally unfit for human habitation. 

The question then arises, "Why do so many Americans live 
in poor houses?" The answer is that their income is too low. 
A city's general welfare depends just as much on wealth and 
income, as it does on personal,moral, and mental qualities. 

In determining the mental or moral qualities, the following 
must be considered : number of persons per thousand graduating 
from public high schools per year, the per cent of taxes devoted 
for maintenance of public libraries, the per cent of literacy 
in the total population, the per cent of literacy among those be- 
tween ages of 15 to 24, the per capita circulation of public 
library books, the per capita number of homes owned, the per 
capita number of telephones, the number of dentists divided 
by the number of lawyers, the excess of the number of physi- 
cians, trained nurses, and teachers over the number of male 
domestic servants, a low per capita number of deaths from social 
diseases, and a low per capita number of deaths from homicides. 

Measured by this standard, cities differ vastly. It is indeed 
a high-ranking community whose citizens live decently, who 
demand the best in education, who read good books, who spend 
their personal money to buy a home, who are more concerned 
about their children's teeth than they are in engaging in a law 
suit. They insist that public money be wisely spent for teachers, 
schools, libraries and parks, and they abhor meddling politicians, 
jails, and lack of law enforcement. 

Some of the present trends which are impairing residential 
areas in cities and which constitute so important a part of the 


economic structure are: the withdrawal of the population to 
suburban areas, the emergence of large blight districts, the 
depreciation of property values, the impairment of tax structures, 
and the increased cost for police, fire, and welfare services in 
the worst run-down areas. 

There is also such a vast difference in living costs in various 
localities. This, too, is important to the breadwinner, who quite 
naturally chooses to live where his money buys most. In cities 
where both wages and salaries are below the average, people 
fool themselves into believing that their cost of living is lower, 
when in reality this is not the case. The real fact is that their 
scale of living is low, and that the citizens live in less com- 
fortable homes. They eat cheaper qualities of food, wear cheaper 
clothes, enjoy cheaper entertainment, and have inferior schools. 
It is not and cannot be, the same life at a lower cost. One gets 
what one pays for. 

It is essential that a city maintain a good reputation. Too 
often it is belitded by would-be writers, who think it is smart 
to write derogatory articles, exaggerating its weaker points in- 
stead of extolling its many good ones. Too many people know 
Pittsburgh, only as the place where "hunkies" make steel, Joliet, 
Illinois, too often is associated only with convicts. Chicago 
always conjures up gangsters, while Belleville is too often spoken 
of deridingly as a litde German village. Let us remember that 
the good name of a city is as priceless as is the reputation of an 
individual. It is up to the citizens themselves to maintain the 
good name of their city by constandy boosting it. Everybody 
likes the man who is proud of his community and the one whose 
community is proud of him. 

To attract outsiders, many cities have adopted city planning. 
Often financial difficulties of municipalities may be traced to 
their failure to adopt effective measures for the present and 
future. City planning holds city expenditures and the direction 
of its development and growth within the bounds of econo- 



ical and wise administration. Effective city planning depends 
upon an understanding of what planning can and should do 
to protect the standards of living. Effective planning will also 
stabilize property values. To arouse an interest and to maintain 
it, the slogan, "It pays to plan," should be adopted universally. 
No growing community can afford to be without a 
planning program lest it encourage waste and disorder. A plan- 
ning program charts the way to order, convenience, safety, com- 
fort, and beauty. 

In 1922 there were only 185 cities and towns that practiced 
city planning. Today there are more than 1700 and there would 
be many more, were it not for the lack of understanding on 
the part of the citizens. Present day city planners relegate 
residential areas to quiet, clean neighborhoods. They lay out 
a city— its streets, parks, recreation centers, businesses, industrial 
and residential sections— with the idea of providing the utmost 
in health, beauty, and convenience for the entire community. 


Recognizing the factors that contribute toward making a 
city good or bad, we have yet to mention that which makes a 
city better. Today both industry and business use scientific 
measurements as an index to their financial condition and well 
being. No longer do they merely take a casual look to see how 
things are progressing. Instead they have explicit measurements 
which indicate clearly and concisely what each department 
is accomplishing. Cities can do the same. It is important to 
know what is being done for health, education, character, 
comfort, security and entertainment. 

When a tornado sweeps through a community one imme- 
diately reads about it in the newspapers where it is given much 
publicity. On the contrary, when an epidemic breaks out, news- 
papers scarcely mention it, or if they do, it is put on an obscure 
page. When new homes are built one sees them, but if the 


circulation of the public library, or the number of property 
owners increases, few citizens are aware of it. The following 
ten-item yardstick, which anybody can apply, will tell fairly 
accurately how a city measures up in general welfare. 

Item 1. Get from the health officer the number of deaths 
per year of infants, ranging from 1 to 365 days, per 1,000 
live births. Substract this number from 120 and multiply the 
result by 2. Cities vary from 20 to 164 points. 

Item 2. Get from the city treasurer the year's expenditures 
for the operation and maintainance of the department of re- 
creation. Divide this amount by the estimated population of 
the city and take ten times the quotient expressed in dollars. 
Cities vary from 5 to 40 points. 

Item 3 Get from the city treasurer the estimated value of 
all the city's property in the form of schools, libraries, museums, 
parks and other recreational facilities. Divide the amount by 
the estimated population of the city, then multiply the result 
expressed in dollars by 1.25. Cities vary from 72 to 161 points. 

Item 4. Get from the city treasurer the total value of all 
public property used for municipal and public services (exclusive 
of streets and sewers.) Get also the net public debt. Substract 
the latter from the former, then divide by the population. Enter 
a credit of one for every $3 per capita excess of property over 
debt. In case the city owes more than its public property is 
worth, enter the appropriate negative number. Cities vary from 
10 to 46 points. 

Item 5. Get from the city treasurer or from the superin- 
tendent of schools, the expenditures for the operation and main- 
tainance of schools. Do not include capital outlays or payment 
of interest of school debts. Divide the amount by the population. 
Multiply number of dollars in the quotient by two, that is, 

*Your City by E. L. Thorndike, 1940, Harcourt Brace and Co. 


enter a credit of one for every 50 cents per capita spent. Cities 
vary from 23 to 56 points. 

Item 6. Get from the person in charge of the pubhc hbrary 
the circulation of books as he would report it to the American 
Library Association. Divide this number by the city's population. 
Multiply the result by 5. Cities vary from 11 to 84 points. 

Item 7. Get from the superintendent of schools the number 
of persons who graduated from senior high school during the 
year, and divide this number by the city's population. Multiply 
the quotient by 14141. Cities vary from 69 to 191 points. 

Item 8. Get from the superintendent of schools the number 
of pupils in school who were aged 16 years and no months, 
to 17 years and 11 months, living in the city at that date and 
give a credit of one for each per cent. Cities vary from 52 to 
92 points. 

Item 9. Get from the superintendent of the telephone com- 
pany the number of subscribers. Multiply the number of phones 
by 333 and divide the product by the city's population, that 
is, give a credit of one for every three phones per thousand 
population. Cities vary from 25 to 90 points. 

Item 10. Get from the power company the number of 
homes that are supplied with electricity.Multiply by 200 and 
divide by the city's population. That is, give credit of two 
for each domestic installation of electricity per 100 population. 
Cities vary from 30 to 64 points. 

Add the results of the 10 entries. The total should be be- 
tween 300 to 1000. The average city totals 575. 

To improve a city therefore one must begin with the home, 
with the neighborhood, and with the individual family. Trees 
should be planted along vacant lots which should be cleaned. 
Support the neighborhood grocer or he will leave. One must 
live within one's income, at the same time providing well for 
one's family. Nothing justifies a loafer, dead-beat, or family 
deserter. To raise a city's status we must avoid the things that 


tend to lower the standard of living. To raise the standard it 
behooves us to remove our slums because they are wasteful 
and dangerous, and it is cruel to tolerate them. 

Suburbs should co-operate with big cities in providing re- 
creational facilities, even though they have private yards, gardens 
and country clubs. Better still, they should merge with neigh- 
boring communities because their territory is contiguous, there- 
by sharing in the public benefits, which now they are denied, 
such as sewer and garbage disposal systems, public parks, and 
reduced insurance rates with added fire protection. 

A good citizen is as loyal to his city as he is to his family, 
his church, and his clubs. Even the poorest city protects his 
person, his property, and educates his children. Few citizens 
give as much as they receive. Too many take the streets, sewer, 
water, light, schools, and parks for granted, like so much 
sunshine and rain. We belong to our city, and it, in turn, 
belongs to us. A city needs to see itself as it really is, so as to 
see itself better in the future. Its citizens need to sell it to 
others and to do so they must believe it is a good one. Always 
point out its good features instead of emphasizing its short- 
comings, remembering always that to sell a community to others, 
its dwellers must be sold on it themselves. 

Schools may profitably consider extending the distribution 
of educations so that it will reach all those who crave and de- 
serve it. Churches may profitably consider the further develop- 
ment of activities in which they are already engaged. They can 
increase their support of welfare work, they should maintain 
a well-balanced budget to provide for the upkeep of the church 
buildings, the minister, good music, overhead expenses, and 
charity; there should be a consolidation of churches; the in- 
creased promotion of spiritual life should be their prime con- 
cern. If a church fulfills this duty it cannot help but improve 
the community. 

Political parties should agree to support and keep out of 


politics the impartial recommendations of experts in public 
health, education, recreation, prevention of crime, prevention 
of poverty, and general welfare. 

Business men and manufactures can do much to improve a 
city. If they pay low wages, it will handicap the schools, 
churches and clubs. Businessmen should be honest and should 
protect their customers from paying for lies, flattery, false hopes, 
and deceptive advertising. 

In order that a city may remain in a high level, citizens 
must constantly keep before them the following: 1. How many 
babies born in the community die during their first year? 
2. How many of the boys and girls at 16 or 17 years attend 
school? 3. How many of its people own their own homes? 
4. How fully are the homes provided with electricity? 5. How 
many have telephone services? 6. How general is illiteracy? 
7. How much crime is there? 8. How many of the homes are 
worth less than $1500, or rent for less than $15 per month? 
9. How much is spent for teachers' salaries (per capita)? 10. 
How well are the residents protected against communicable 
diseases? Every good citizen must always resolve to do every- 
thing within his power to improve his community in each of 
the above mentioned. He must also help in seeing to its clean- 
liness, beauty, health, order, leisure, and security. 

It is our solemn duty to transmit the city to the coming gen- 
erations more beautiful than it was transmitted to us. Let us 
remember that all the good the past has had, remains to make 
our own time glad. When we build, therefore, let us think 
we are building forever; let it not be for present delight, nor 
for present use alone; let it be such work as our descendents 
will be grateful for. Let us think, as we lay stone on stone, that 
a time is to come, when those stones will be held sacred be- 
cause our hands have touched them, and that men will say 
as they look upon the labor and the wrought substance of them, 
"This our fathers did for us." 


Arnold, Joseph I., 
Challenges to American Yotith, 
Row Peterson & Company 1940 
Evanston, Illinois 

Barnes, Ham' Elmer, 
Society in Trandtion^ 
New York, N. Y. 


Beuckman, Frederic, Rev., 
History of the Dioce'ie of Belle- 

Buechler Printing Co., 1919 

Belleville, Illinois 

Brink and McDonough, 
IJi'itory of St. Clair County, 
Brink,' McDonough Co., 1881 
Philadelphia, Pa. 

HoUman, Frank and John, 
Atlas of St. Clair County, 
Buechler Publishing Co., 1936 
Belleville, lUinois 

Lohman, Karl B., 

A Community-Planning Primer 

for Illinois, 
University of Illinois 1935 

Urbana, Illinois 

McCormack, Thomas J., 
Memoirs of Grtstave Koerner 

Vol I & 2, 
The Torch Press. 1909 

Capen and Melchior, 
My Worth to the World, 
American Book Co., 1937 

Chicago, Illinois 

Dodd and Dodd, 
Government in Illinois, 
University of Chicago Press, 


Chicago, Illinois 

Reynolds, John, 

The Historical and Business Re- 
view of the City of Belleville, 

Included in Hollands Belleville 
City Directory for 1868-1869, 

Webster Publishing Co., 1869 

Chicago, Illinois 




Ried, J. A., 

Greater Belleville, The, 
Ried Publishing Co., 
Belleville, Illinois 


Chamber of Commerce of the 

United States 
Balanced Rebuilding of Cities, 
Washington, D. C. 1937 

Thomdike, E. L., 
144 Smaller Cities, 
Harcourt Brace & Co. 
New York, N. Y. 


W. P. A. of Illinois, 
Americaiu Guide Series, 

Sponsored hy Henry Horner, 
A. C. McClurg & Co. 1939 
Chicago, Illinois 

Chamber of Commerce, 
Industrial Survey of Belleville, 
Belleville, Illinois 1927 

Chamber of Commerce, 
Industrial Analysis of Belleville, 
Belleville, Illinois 1948 

Illinois Planning Commission, 
Looking ahead with Illinois 

Cities and Villages, 
Chicago, Illinois 1937 

Belleville Daily Advocate Cen- 
October 25, 1939 
Belleville, Illinois 

U. S. Chamber of Commerce, 
Opportimities for City Planning, 
Washington, D. C. 1934 


St. Clair County Centennial Edi- 
Souvenir Edition, 
September 1914 
Belleville, Illinois 

October 5, 1941 
St. Louis. Missouri 

Butts, L. A., 

Evolution of Belleville Puhlic 

Washington University 1931 
St. Louis, Missouri 

Petty, Alvin French, 
Economic Geography of Belle- 
Washington, D.C. 1939 

St. Louis, Missouri 


Abend, Edward 57, 83, 85, 106 

Abend, Henry 57 

Abend, Joseph 57 

Abend, Lena 32 

Ackerman, John 198 

Adams, John Quincy 59 

Advocafe, location of 245 

Afflect, Benjamin Franklin 97 

Afflecf, James 130 

Agricultural Products 184, 185 

Alexander, H. A. 92 

Althoff, William 116 

Althoff, Rt. Rev. H. 128, 129, 135, 

158, 259 
Altitude 260 

American Bottoms 105, 107 
American Legion 239 
American Notes 253 
Andel, Col. Casimier 86 
Anderson, Abraham 121 
Andrew, James 9 
Annual rainfall 261 
Architects 147 
Aristocratic School 38 
Armstrong, C. A. 207 
Arnold, Cyril 245 
Automobile Regulations 95, 96 
Avia Field 229 


Bader, Frank 111 

Boer Brothers 189 

Baker, Jehu 63, 71, 74, 244 

Baker, Margaret 74 

Baker, William 74 

Bakeries 188, 191 

Baldree, C. E., Dr., 45 

Boll, Champness 103 

Balloon, travel 97, 98 

Banks of Belleville 193, 194 

Baseball player from Belleville 203 

Bauer Brothers 147, 179 

Bauer, G. L., Dr., 45 

Baoman, Charles, Dr., 45 

Beard, William A. 25 

Bechtold, August, Dr., 44 

Bechtold, Edmond, Dr., 44 

Bechtold, John, Dr., 44 

Bechtold, Louis J., Dr., 44 

Becker, Charles 62 

Bedwell, James W. 100, 

Beese, David 115 

Bell, Robert 115 

Belleville Academy 38 

Belleville Casket Company 183 

Belleville City Railway 92 

Belleville Coal Analyzed 243 
Belleville Daily Advocate 244 
Belleville Daily News-Democrat 245 
Belleville Fair Grounds 258 
Belleville House 89, 255 
Belleville Incorporated 1850, 248 
Belleville, J. D., Dr. 45 
Belleville Literary Society 139 
Belleville Public Library 77, 122, 123, 

151, 152 
Belleville Saengerbund and Library 

Society 154 
Belleville Post 248 
Belleville 21 

Belleville Shoe Factory 182 
Belleville-Smithton Rood 97 
Belleville Township High School 69 
Bellevue Park 216, 217 
Bennett, Jerry 3 
Bennett, Timothy 48 
Benton, Thomas Hart 49, 59 
Berchelmann, Dr. Adolph 42, 43, 153 
Biggs, William 9 
Billing, Joseph 32 




Bischof, Jacob, Sr., 118 

Bischoff, L. A., Dr., 45 

Beske, Arthur, Dr., 45 

BIssell, Mrs. Elizabeth 69 

Bissell, William H. 62, 68, 69, 253 

Black Hawk War 73, 74, 236 

Blair, George 22, 48, 67, 118, 119 

Blockhouses 236 

Blue Goose Motor Coach Co. 99 

Board of Education 147, 149, 206 

Board of Public Works 65 

Boelte, Miss Marie 141 

Bond, Shadrach 13 

Boneau, Ben 247 

Bornman, Conrad 83 

Breese, Judge 59, 60 

Breitwieser, Arnold 100 

Brethauer, H. A., Dr., 45 

Breweries 164, 166 

Brick, early use 255 

Brickyard operators 172 

Brodt, S. E. 97 

Brooks, Rev. John B. 39 

Brosius, Geiss Co. 169, 170 

Brosius, Jacob 80, 81 

Brosius, John 209 

Bfownlie, Arthur R., Dr., 45 

Brua, Henry 140 

Bruss, Fred 111 

Bryan, William Jennings 251 

Buchonan, William 169 

Budde, Rev. F. B. 136 

Budweiser Garden 256 

Buechler, Albert 188 

Buechler, Joseph 188 

Boesch, Arthur 257 

Buechler Printing Co. 188 

Building Committee, St. Peters 128 

Building Contractors 120 

Bunsen, George 41, 78, 79, 137, 152 

Burcl.ardt, H. 170 

Burnett, James 206 

Burns, Frank S. 198 

Busch, Adolphus 173 

Business establishements 195, 198 

Butzinger, Raymond 115 

Bott, Frank 115 

Bowdern, Rev. Thomas 158 

Eoyakin, William F. 246 

Boyd, James L. 242 

Brauer, Eugene 102, 103 

Braun, Charles 111 

Braunersreuther, William 238 

Cahokia 120 

Cahokias-lndian tribe 1 

Cahokia-Surrender 5 

Cains, Jacob 23 

Cornfield, Emma 32 

Canning Companies 182 

Carlin, Gov. Theo. 153 

Carriage Works 189, 190 

Cartwright, Alexander 201 

Case, Col. W. 37 

Case Company, J. I. 182, 183 

Cathedral High School 136 

Catholics 2 

Catholic families, early 127 

Centerville Avenue 56 

Central School 146 

Chamber of Commerce 185, 216 

Chambers, Nathan 23 

Chandler, S. B. 117 

Chapman, Elijah 160 

Chicago 13 

Cliouinard, John 111 

Churches today 123, 126, 177 

Cigar Manufacturers 163 

Circuit Riders 130 

Citizens duty 271 

City Council 110, 113 

City Hall 72 

City official salaries in 1844, 249 

City officials today 250 

City Superintendents 143 

City Park Garden 256 

City Park Theatre 251 

Civic Investment Trust association 183, 

Civic Organizations 213, 214 
Civil War 74, 77, 85, 237 
Clark Brothers 94 
Clark, George Rogers 5, 7, 236 
Clark, T. C. 244 
Clay, Henry 58, 60 
Cleaning and Dying establishment 

Clinton Hill 37, 63, 64 
Clyne, Arthur A., Dr., 45 
Coal discovered 242, 243 
Cool Oil inspector 249 
Coal production 242 
Cody, William 251 
Coghlan, Joseph B. 238 
Communications school 234 


Communify, definition of 262 Early Hotels 255 

Conroy, C. R., Dr., 45 Early politics 258 

Continental Army 5 East St. Louis and Interurban Railway 

Cook, Daniel P. 49 99 

Correspondence school 235 East St. Louis - Settlement 5 

Coulter, James S. 244 East St. Louis and Suburban Railway 

County Home 256 Company 93, 94, 96, 99 

Court House 3, 118 Ebsen, Christian L. 257 

Cox and Roberts 168 Eckert, George 256 

Crocker, Earl 100 Eddy Paper Corporation 183, 184 

Cron-thal 80 Edgar, John 11 

Crow, Leslie 245 Edwards, Charles 39 

Crown Mill 161, 162 Edwards, Ninian 23, 48, 55, 62, 64, 

Curtis biplane 98 65, 67, 69 

Custis, Martha 5 Edwards party 65 

Edwards party, anti 65 

D Ehret, Henry 176 

Eimer, Charles 32 

Daab, Fred 32 Eimer, Simon 53, 165, 256 

Daehnerf, C. 134 Election 1840, 251 

Daesch, Raymond 111 Elks Club 260 

Daily Advocate 71 Elliot Liquor Store 58 
Daughters of American Revolution 69 Ellis, C. P. 40 

Davis, Irvin W., Dr., 45 Engelmonn, Adolph 5>7 , 103 

Davis, Jefferson 68 Engelmann, Friedrich 83 

Dawes, Alexander G. 245 Engelmann, George, Dr., 57 

Day, John A. 93, 172 Engelmann, Sophie 58 

Day Line 93 Engelmann, Theo. 152 

Debs, Eugene 254 Enochs, Issoc 23 

Decker, Wilhelm 153 Erhardt, William 40 

Deep Wells 106 Esler and Ropiquet Co. 169 

Deknent, Charles 110 Esfes, Dr., 48 

Denlinger, William 246 Estes, James P. 100, 103 

Dennis, John H. 39, 62, 71 Evans, Fred E. 245 

Deobold, Henry C. 95 Eversull, Rev. Dr. Frank 124 

DeSoto 1 Eyman, Abraham 21 
Dexheimer, Herbert, Dr., 45 

Dickens, Charles 59, 263 F 
Dietz, George 174 

Differences in Cities 262, 265 Falcetti, Edward 111 

Dobson, Reese 115 Fallon, Rev. Msgr. John F. 129, n.5 

Duvall, R. E. Mayor 96, 97 Family names 260 

Doctor fees 44 Farmer, Orena 148 

Dog catcher 249 Feder, N. H., Dr., 45 

Douglas, Stephen A. 60, 61, 254 Federal Barge Line 100 

Dress plants 183 Feickert's Bakery 121, 188 

Dunne, Edward F. 259 Fellner, Peter 192, 193 

Ferguson, Mrs. B. H. 147 

E Fincke, Miss Ruth 149 

Finklein, John 111 

Eads Bridge 91, 102 Fike, Nathan 48 

Eads, James B. 39 Fire Department 108, 111 

Eagle Foundry 175, 176 Fire prevention week 111 



First Church of Christ Scientist 121 

First coal mine 243 

First County Fair 257 

First traffic tragedy 259 

Flock, Max 202 

Flannery, James 9 

Fleischbein, Adolph G. 202 

Fleischbein, Jacob 82, 164 

Fleming, Edward 244 

Fleming, P. K. 51 

Fleming, Robert K. 244 

Fleming, William 244 

Fletcher, Art 202 

Flickinger, Rev. William 132 

Floods 55 

Florists of Belleville 190, 191 


Football players 204, 205 

Fort Chartres 4 

Fouke, Jacob 90 

Fouke, Phillip B. 40 

Fouke, Philip S. 69, 244 

Foundries 166, 167, 175, 178 

Frank, W, 140 

Franklin School 140 

Frons, J. 140 

Fraternal Organizations 213 

Freeburg Avenue 56 

French - education, etc. 3 

French and Indian War 4 

Friedii, F. J. 148, 203, 207 

Frontier life and dress 17, 20 

Gallaher, Rev. James 131 

Gallup, William 37 

Geissener Immigration Association 78 

Geist, Jacob 80 

General Headquarters of Air Forces 

Germans, early 85, 86 
German immigrants 57, 75 
German Library Society 77 
German pioneers 86 
Glen Addie 65 
Goedeking, Henry 26, 40 
Goforth, William Gale, Dr., 43 
Good citizens, value of 270 
Good Roads Booster Club 97 
Gooding, Cornelius 25 
Grade schools 141, 143 
Grant, Ulysses S. 61, 71, 237 

Gratiot, Charles 42 

Graul, Miss Mary 126 

Graves, Richard 103 

Great Western Mail Route 101 

Green, Joseph, Dr., 43 

Groom, Bob 202 

Groom, Charles 115 

Growing season 261 

Gruenewald, Monsignor M. J. 129, 

Gundloch Machine Works 174 
Gundlach, Philip M. 167, 168 


Hackenbruch, Emil 111 

Haines, W. F., Dr., 45 

Halberf, R. A. 246 

Hall, Dr. Hal O. 148 

Hancock, Dr., 43 

Hangar, first 231 

Harper, L. C. 96 

Harpstreits, Ted 207 

Harrison, Charles 32 

Harrison, Hugh 32, 168 

Harrison, Theophilus 169 

Harrison, Thomas 46, 161, 253 

Harrison, William Henry 11 

Hart, Frank 111 

Hartman Brothers 50 

Harvey, G. A. 246 

Haskins, Jack T., Dr., 45 

Hassoll, Clarence 115 

Howes, F. M. 245 

Hoy, John 23, 25, 72, 73, 103 

Heothcothe, Cliff 202, 203 

Hecker, Colonel Frederich 2, 4 

Heiligenstein, P. C, Dr., 45 

Heinfelden, Curt 157, 246 

Heinzelman, A. C. 109 

Heinzelman Brothers 130 

Heinzelman, George 109 

Heinemonn, Henry A. 118 

Hempel, C. R. Rev. 97 

Henke, Ewold 111 

Henkemeyer Cigar Factory 181, 182 

Henkemeyer, Martin 164 

Hepp, Eugene G. 149 

Hertel, Charles 27 

Herzler and Henniger Machine Works 

Hess, William 110 
High School teachers 148 



Highway Thirteen 99 

Hildenbrandt, J. C. 153 

Hilgard, Edouard 152 

Hilgard, Frifz, Sr., 152 

Hilgard, George E. 239 

Hilgard, Theodore 81, 82, 152 

Hilgard, Offo 153 

Hinckley, Maria 72 

Hinckley, Russell 161, 193 

Hock, Edword 111 

Hodo, Monroe 115 

Hoeffken Brothers 179 

Hoffmann, George Engelbert 21, 64 

Holcomb, Clarence 111 

Home Circle 32 

Homecoming 258 

Homeier, William 248 

Horseless carriage 94, 95 

Hotel Belleville 255 

Hotel, National 48 

Hough, C. R., Dr., 45 

How to improve our city 267 

Huber Family 127 

Hughes, James W. 85, 103 

Hughes, Sheriff John D. 26 

Hume, William 134 

Hundredth anniversary 259 


Ice Companies 192 

Illinois 12, 13, 242 

Illinois Central 99 

Illinois - Settlement of 1 

Illinois Territory 11 

Illinois Fire Company 108 

Illinois volunteers 109 

Imbs, J. F, 162 

Imbs Milling Company 161, 178 

Importance of City planning 267 

Industries 186, 187 

Ingersoll, Robert G. 251 

Ingram, Rev. James V. 133 

Intelligencer Blatt 248 

Irwin, Dr., Edward M. 257 

Isselhard, R. M., Dr., 45 

Ittner, Anthony 172, 173 

Jaeckel, Fred, Dr., 45 
Janis, Professor 98 
Jansen, Bishop John 129 

Jeffrey, Oscar 115 

Johnson, Fred 115 

Johnson, Pearl 148 

Johnson, Preston K. 245 

Johnson, Richard M. 251, 252 

Johnson, Sir William 5 

Joliet, Louis 2, 4, 6 

Jones, Rogers D. 240 

Joseph, Oliver 208 

Joseph, R. J., Dr., 45 

Joyce, Professor 98 

Julleis, Edward 245 

Junior High School 143 


Kaltenbrown, Herbert 115 

Kansas - Nebraska Bill 70 

Karch, John 148 

Korstens, Wallace C, Dr., 45 

Kaskaskia 12, 64 

Kaskaskia - Indians 1 

Kaskaskia - Settlement 3 

Kaufmann, Herbert 150 

Koye, Raymond J., Dr., 45 

Kellermann, Gustav 154 

Kempff, Louis 238 

Kensinger, Richard 111 

Kern, Fred J. 118, 247 

Kerr, Joseph 49 

Kimball, G. F. 245 

Kimber, T. H. 131 

Kindergarten Association 140 

Kindergarten Private School 38 

Kinsen, E. P. Captain 97 

Kinney, William 64, 65, 69 

Kircher, Joseph 154 

Kirkwood, Andrew 115 

Klemme, Gottlieb 176 

Klincar, Paul 115 

Kloess Brick Company 175 

Klotz, Philip 111 

Kluge, Emil 115 

Knab, Fanny 32 

Knispel Lake 257 

Knobelock, Thomas 170 

Koehler, Rev. B. J. 133 

Koerner, Gustav 57, 63, 69, 91, 152, 

154, 157, 220, 259 
Koerner, Mrs. Gustav 141, 147 
Kohl, Emil J. 128 
Kohl, George 128 
Kraft, F. W. 247, 248 
Kraft, Theodore J. 140, 154, 217 


Krimmel, Louis 169 
Kroenig, Milton 115 
Kubitschek, John D., Dr., 45 
Kuensfer, Rev. Joseph 127 
Kuhn, F. AA., Dr., 45 
Kurrus, Richard 115 

Lobor Unions 198, 200 

Lofayelte, General 251 

loke Christine 106 

lake Lorraine 106 

lambrechf, A. 94 

lange, H. L., Dr., 45 

Lanmann, Everett, Dr., 45 

La Salle 2 

Latin Peasants 82 

Lawrence, George 115 

Lebanon Avenue 56 

Lebanon - Silver Ore 3 

Le Clerc College 136 

Le Coq, Sophie 79 

Ledergetber, Joseph 153 

lee. Rev. J. W. 129 

Lehman, Elmer 115 

Lehr, Jacob 40 

Lemen, James Rev. 21, 23, 130 

Leunig, I. A. Jr., Dr., 45 

Leunig, I. A. Sr„ Dr, 45 

Liberals 57 

Liederkranz Hall 32 

Liederkranz Society 211 

lienesch, John Thomas 65 

Liese Lumber Company 180 

Lincoln, Abraham 61, 77, 251, 254, 

Lincoln Hotel 39, 72 
Lincoln School 140 
Lincoln Theater 51 
List, Clarence 111 
Liverpool 73 
log Cabin 28, 29 
Logan, General John A. 61 
Looking Glass Prairie 253 
lorey. Miss Johanna 142 
lorey, William 40 
Louisville and Nashville 99 
Lucky, Enoch 87 
luthern Church School 38 
Lyon, Annie 63, 64 
Lyon, Matthew 21, 63 


Magin, Walter 115 

Mangelsdort, Rev. 136 

Mann, Horace 150 

Manring, Clarence A. 149 

Mansion House 51, 253 

Marquette, Jacques 2, 4, 6 

Market House 117, 118, 248 

Marshall, Thomas R. 251 

Martin, C. L., Dr., 45 

Martin, G. R., Dr., 45 

Mascoufah Avenue 56 

Mascoufah Plank Road 257 

Mass, first 127 

Matfison, Governor 79 

Mayors of Belleville 250 

McAdam 90 

McBride, William J. 253 

McCarty, Richard 5 

McClintock, William 37 

McClurc, Samuel 9 

McCullough, J. J., Dr., 45 

McEvers, Williams 115 

McLaughlin, Robert 54, 55 

McRogers, George 32 

Mears, William 54, 55 

Medicine Mon 41, 42 

Medicines 43 

Melrose, James, Dr., 43 

Memorial Fountain 215, 216 

Merck, Karl, Sr., 187 

Mertens, William, Jr., 115 

Mertens, William, Sr. 115 

Merritt, James W. 244 

Merritt, Wesley 238 

Messenger, John 21, 23, 37, 62, 65 

Metchigans - Indian tribes 1 

Mexican War 68, 71, 74, 237 

Meyer, Rev. Charles 127 

Meyer, George E., Dr., 45, 149 

Meyer, Joseph 127 

Meyer Pants Company 182 

Middiecoff, Frank 169 

Miller, Rev. Joseph 129 

Miller, Percy 115 

Miller, Wallace 115 

Million, Henry L. 256 

Millitizer, Henry G. 103 

Ministers today 125, 126 

Minor Construction Company 179 

Mississippi River 100, 102, 105, 107 

Missouri River 100 


Mitchell, James 62, 71, 103, 117 

Mitchell, William, Sr., 43 

Model School 57. 58 

Mo«ssinr)cr, Fred 115 

Monk, C. A. 130 

Monks Mound 10 

Montague, E. J. 245 

Mooring Mast 231 

Morning Record 248 

AAorrison, Col. J. I. D. 65, 69, 85, 

101, 246 
Mueller. William 21 
Mullett, Clarence 115 
Music in Belleville 209, 212 


Nofzigcr, Fred 207 

Noil Mills 171, 172, 180, 181 

National Hotel 51 

Nebgen, Albert 111 

Needles, Jos. H., Dr., 45 

Nehrkorn, Mrs. Dorothy 142 

Nesbit, Francis W., Dr., 45 

Neuhoff, A. D., Dr., 45 

Neuhoff House 252 

New Design 37 

New Madrid earthquake 18 

News-Democrat, early location 246, 

Nlles, Nathaniel 70, 71, 244 
Noble, William D. 25 
Norbet, Paul, Dr., 45 
Northwest Territory 8 
Noted visitors 251 
Notre Dame Academy 135, 136 

Parent-Tcochers Association 213 

Paro, H. G. 209 

Paule, Hugo 115 

Paxon, James 1 1 1 

Peck, Rev. J. M. 131 

Pensoneau, Elienne 48 

Peoria Indians 1 

Perrin, Frank N. 80 

Perrin, J. Nick 67 

Pestalozzi, Father 78, 79 

Peters, Elmer 149 

Phillips, George I. 94 

Phillips, Rev. Russell 124 

Piggot, Captain James 87 

Pinet, Father 2 

Pioneers 62 

Pioneer dress 29, 31 

Pioneer social life 31, 33 

Police deportment 111, 115 

Poniske, Melvin 1 15 

Pontiac 5, 251 

Pope, Nathaniel 12 

Population 260 

Portland Cement Association 97 

Portuondo, Miss Sylvia 147 

Post office 102, 104 

Postal Rates 100, 101 

Prairie Du Pont 4 

Presbyterian Church, eafly 122 

Priester, Frank 216 

Priester's Park 216 

Primm, John 21 

Proclamation of 1763 4, 8 

Public Square 25, 77 

Purple Swan Coach Co. 99 

Oakland Foundry 176, 177 

O'Brien, John 127 

Ochs, F. A., Dr., 45 

Odd Fellow Building 72 

Ogle, Benjamin 9 

Ogle, Joseph 9 

Ogle, Samuel 161 

Ogle Station 98 

Ohio River 100 

Opp, Louis 103 

Ostlongenberg, Rev. C. H. 128, 135 

Otrich, G. C, Dr., 45 

Ottawa Indian tribe 5 

Owens, Jewel 148 


Quebec 73 
Quick, Moses 160 

Raab, E. P., Dr., 154 

Raab, Henry 41, 62, 79, 157 

Raab, Mrs. Henry 141 

Randall, Peter Wilklns, Dr., 42 

Randleman, Martin 21 

Rangers 236 

Rapier, Richard 161 



Rauth, E. L, Dr., 45 

Rauth, Walter 206 

Rayhill, Mrs. Florence 130 

Reconstruction Period 70 

Record Printing and Advertising Co. 

Redman, Jackson 219 
Reeb, Phillip 96 
Reineke, Mrs. Amelia 127 
Reiss, Fred 154 
Ries, Rev. J. 128, 132 
Renal, Dr., 42 
Renault, Phillip 3 
Renner, C. P., Dr., 45, 208 
Rentchler, Anna 32 
Rentchler, Dave 32 
Rentchler, Louis 32 
Reputation of a city 266 
Resch, Frank 111 
Residential areas 265 
Revolution of 1830, 75 
Revolution of 1833, 78 
Reuss, Adoiph, Dr., 153 
Reynolds, James M. 103 
Reynolds, John 25, 49, 60, 62, 66, 

67, 69, 85, 88 
Rhein, Sophia 212 
Richland Creek 48, 105, 106, 160, 

161, 169, 225, 226 
Richland Mill 174 
Riesenberger, Frank 115 
Ringold, John 103, 161 
RItzheimer, Earl 111 
Robertson, D. R., Dr., 45 
Rock Road 96, 97, 111 
Rodenmeyer, Edward 111 
Rodenmeyer, Wilbur 111 
Rodenberg, W. A. 118 
Rogers, Robert 246 
Roman, William, Dr., 43 
Rombauer, Mrs. August 147 
Rombauer, Edgar 62 
Rose, Fred, Dr., 45 
Rose, Wm. F., Dr., 45 
Roth, L. W., Dr., 45 
Rubber Cow 232 
Ruebel, Walter 115 
Runways 233 
Russell, Alexander B. 246 
Russell, William J, 247 
Rutherford, William 115 
Rutz, Edward 62 

Sadorf, Frank 192 

Saucier, Francois 3 

Sauer, Robert 1 1 1 

Sargent, Charles 103 

St. Clair, Gen. Arthur 10 

St. Clair County 10, 11 

St. Clair County Agricultural Society 

St. Clair County Fair 258 
St. Clair County Court House 119, 120 
St. Clair County Turnpike 93 
St. Clair Gazette 244 
St. Clair Tribune 72 
St. Clair Volunteers 109 
St. Elizabeth's Hospital 157, 158, 159 
St. Henry's College 136 
St. John's Orphanage 65 
St. Louis - Settlement 5 
St. Louis Turnpike 84 
St. Paul's Church 38, 132 
St. Peter's Cathedral 127, 129 
St. Peter's Sand 105 
Schaefer, Edwin M. 232 
Scheel, John 57, 253 
Scheve, Julius 152 
Schiller, Edward 245 
Schilling, A. D., Dr., 45 
Schlesinger, Norman 111 
Schlott, William 176 
Schmidt, A! R. 245 
Schmidt, H. G. 147, 148, 207 
Schmitt, Mrs. Phillip 127 
Schmitz, Erwin 111 
Schmitz, Floyd 111 
Schools 34, 41 
Schatt, Anton, Dr., 152, 157 
Schroder, Henry C. G. 142 
Schwarz, Hanz 248 
Schwind, Herbert 215 
Scotland 73 
Scott Field 103, 104 
Scott Field, Commander of 230 
Scott Field, completness of 235 
Scott Field, construction of 229 
Scott Field, measles at 230 
Scott Field, named 229 
Scott Field, need for 229 
Scott Field road 232 
Scott Field saved 232 
Scott, Jasper 169 
Scott, Joseph 67, 68 



Scoft, William Jr., 23 

Sears, Roebuck 96 

Sehlinger, Anfon 173, 174 

Seller, Emil 111 

Semmelrofh, August 188 

Semmelrolh, Herman 103 

Settlers from Virginia 75 

Seven years' war 4 

Shenandoah dirigible 231 

Shepherd, Elihu 38 

Shields, James 62, 70, 73, 74 

Shoal Creek 101 

Short, Jacob 23, 48 

Shoupe, W. H. 246 

Sickman, Theodore 126 

Silver Creek 48 

Silver ore 3 

Simonin, Norman 115 

Sinclair 38 

Sintzel, A. R., Dr., 45 

Slade, James P. 62, 72, 254 

Small 83 

Small pox 44 

Smith, Dr., 42 

Smith, John 115 

Snyder, Adam W. 54, 55, 257 

Snyder, William 103 

Snyder, Mrs. William H. 141 

Sopp, Philip H. 103 

Southern Roilroad 99 

Spanish - American War 238 

Sparks, Jared 152, 153 

Star Brewery Park 257 

State Militia of Illinois 73 

Staufenbiel, Mrs. F. J. 154 

Stein, Ernst 150 

Steingoetter, Mrs. Bessie 142 

Stellwagen, 78 

Sterling, Miss Ruth 142 

Sterthman, Raymond 115 

Steuernagel, Bella 156 

Stoelzle, Fidel 165 

Stolberg, George P. 257 

Sfolberg Lake 257 

Stolle, Anna L. 245 

Stookey, Daniel 62 

Strauss, J. B. 93 

Streck Brothers 181 

Stuart, A. C. 54 

Stuart, Alphonso C. 48 

Stuart, E. R. 246 

Suburbs 270 

Swift, Professor L. 132 

Tabor, Hubert 205 

Taft, William H. 251 

Togeblatt Und Arbeiter Zeitung 248 

Tammarois - Indian tribe 1 

Tannehill, James 51 

Tannehill Hotel 48 

Tannehill, Raechel 48, 162, 163 

Taylor, Francis M. 103 

Teachers, early 138 

Telephone Companies 191, 192 

Temperature 261 

Tennis at B.T.H.S. 207 

Territory of Illinois 7 

Territorial Post Office 100 

Teter, John 62 

Thebus, John 118 

Thespian Club 211 

Thomas, John E. 103, 117, 245 

Thomas, J. H. 245 

Thomas, Colonel John 73 

Thompson, Amos 208 

Thompson, Cyrus 73, 103, 118, 169, 

Thompson, Fred 1 1 1 
Thome, Russell 150 
Tisch Monument Works 184 
Todd, John 7 
Torch Light Parade 259 
Tornado of 1938, 228 
Towers, Al 199 
Transylvania University 58 
Trap shooting 203 
Treaty of Paris 4, 7 
Treu Bund 248 
Trumbull, George 84 
Trumbull, Lyman 62, 69, 84, 259 
Turkey Hill 137 
Turner Society 257 
Twain, Mark 253 
Twitchell, B. E., Dr., 44 
Twilchell, Standlee, Dr., 44, 45 
Turner, William 38 
Tyndale, Sharon 103 


Undertaking establishments 190 
Underwood, Joseph B. 71 

Underwood, William H. 71 
Underwood, William J. 246 



Union Fire Company 109 

U.S.O. 240 


Vollis, John 9 

Van Cleve, Collins 245 

Variation in living costs 266 

Veterans of Foreign Wars 239 

Vicksburg, battle of 71 

Village Board 108, 109 

Volunteer Fire Company No. 2 109 

Von Lengerke, Matilda 79 


V/addel, David 9 

Wade, John 111 

Wagner, A. W., Dr., 254 

Wagner, M. W., Dr., 45 

Wallace, Henry 251 

Walta, Robert 111 

Walton, W. H., Dr., 45 

Wangelin, Evans H., Dr., 44 

Wangelin, Herman G. 80, 102, 103 

Wangelin, Colonel Hugo 102, 103 

Wangelin, Hugo E., Dr., 44 

Wangelin, Irwin H. 102, 103 

War of 1812, 47, 236 

Washington, George 5 

Washington School 140 

Water system 103, 108 

Water Tower Hill 107 

Waugh Mills 171 

Weber, Herman G. 106, 155 

Weber, John 142 

Weeden, T. C. 245 

Wehrle, Fredericka 126 

Weingaertner, Jacob 154 

Weir, M. W. 127 

Weir, Sophie 127 

Wellinghoff, J. L. 100 

West Belleville 226, 227 

West, B. J. 62 

West, Jr., Washington, Dr., 44 

Westhaven Swimming Pool 257 

Wheat 46 

Wheeler, J. E., Dr., 45 

Whigs 70 

White, Charles O., Dr., 45 

White, James 9 

Whiteside, Jacob 161 

Whiteside, Captain William 9, 66 

Whiteside, Uel 10 

Wick, Bernard 154 

Wiggins Ferry Company 87 

Wilbret, C. L., Dr., 45 

Wilbret, M. E., Dr., 45 

Wilderman, M. N., Dr., 45 

Wilding, Peter 85 

Wilkie, Wendell 251 

Wilkinson, Ed. P. 25 

Wilkinson, Edmond 161 

Willard, Francis 259 

Willoughby, James A. 245 

Willoughby, James B. 32, 103 

Wilson, C. S., Dr., 45 

Wilson, Edward 111 

Winkler, T. J., Dr., 45 

Wold, Fritz A. 152 

Wolf, Herman 152 

Woodworth, Charles, Dr., 43 

Wolleson, Mr. A. M. 155, 156 

Women's Christian Temperance Union 

Women's Temperance Union 259 
Wood, Leonard W., General 251 
Woods, John 245 
World War I, 77, 238 
World War II, 239 
Wrestling at B.T.H.S. 207 
Wright, Rev. J. G. 134 
Wright, John 256 
Wyott David 27 

Zeiler, Aaron 163, 164 
Zeitung Und Stern 248 
Zinser, Emil 111